The Brexit Party’s nationwide tour rolling through Grimsby gave cause to dig through some facts and figures. Local scrutiny finds the opportunity currently denied to towns like this is eye-watering.
Grimsby’s yet another name synonymous with being a fishing town in the public’s mind. Yet it has been decimated by EU membership and the disastrous Common Fisheries Policy
Yes, a majority of Grimsby’s wealth was built on the distant water fleet, one which fished in Icelandic, Faroese and Norwegian waters – that is until our Nordic neighbours took control of all their waters in the 1970s
However, a large portion of the fleet from Grimsby were near water vessels that fished in what should be British waters in the North Sea, but which Ted Heath famously surrendered to EU control as a price for joining in 1973
This has seen a calamitous decline in the Grimsby fleet, market, infrastructure and indeed town.
ROBBERY UK RESOURES
Yet in the rich fishing grounds around the Dogger bank we have;
- A marauding fleet of Dutch pulse beamers which indiscriminately electrocute all seabed life as they catch the majority of the Plaice and Sole stocks.
- A fleet of Danish industrial Sandeel vessels which have stripped on average around 200,000 tons of this crucial marine food source per year to use as pig feed or to burn in power stations.
- To cap it off the local fleet has zero access to the rich Pelagic stocks off our coast, yet we have a fleet of huge EU pelagic vessels (like the Margeris which there was recently media uproar about it fishing in the channel) who seasonally take the vast majority of the Herring stocks in the central North Sea just off the British coast.
The EU takes 60% of the catches in British waters. Accounting for around 1/3rd of their total catches from the NE Atlantic.
To give some local scale of the robbery of Britain’s resources to this area, based on EU commission figures, of the 5 main species in the Central North Sea off Grimsby. Sole, Plaice, Turbot Herring and Horse Mackerel. The EU gets;
- 93% of the Sole quota catching 62% of it in British waters – 7,750 tons worth £72m.
- 75% of the Plaice quota catching 30% in British waters – 27,750 tons worth £42m.
- 87% of Turbot catching 34% in British waters – 2,754 tons worth £23m.
- 88% of Horse Mackerel catching 76% in British waters – 9,576 tons worth £4m
And the best/worst for last…..!
- 91% of the Herring Quota catching 81% in British waters – 221,000 tons worth £100m
The figures above give a total of 268,830 tons worth £241m pounds catch value to what should be the major fishing ports of Lowestoft, Grimsby and North Shields alongside Eyemouth, Hartlepool, Whitby, Scarborough, Bridlington.
The processed value multiplies this by an approximate factor of 4. Meaning these Towns could see around a £1 billion boost. Grimsby sharing a sizeable part of this would see the town turned around by taking back control of our waters.
On a national scale it is some £2bn catch value and £8bn that the industry can become worth.
All we have to do is leave with a clean Brexit. This would automatically terminate the CFP and its equal access and relative stability shares so horrendously eschewed against the UK.
Under international law (UNCLOS) Britain would be a normal, independent coastal state like Norway, Iceland and Faroe, with exclusive sovereign rights over all water and resources within our Exclusive Economic Zone out to 200nm or the mid-line
Under the international principle of Zonal Attachment – where a nation receives shares of stocks based on the predominance of species in its waters – this billion pounds that’s been surrendered to the EU fleet would be Britain’s.
These repatriated resources, distributed fairly to all fishermen and communities outside the current allocation system, would be an adrenaline hit that would see investment in boats, infrastructure and thousand of jobs at sea and ashore.
WHY BORIS DEAL BLOWS IT
Sadly, Boris deal means re-obeying all EU law including the CFP for the Transition – potentially for upto 3 years.
Allowing the EU to impose any detrimental legislation, which we must obey, to cull what’s left of the British fleet. The EU will have every reason to do so as under UNCLOS 62.2 the EU would then be free to claim the “surplus” of our resources we’d no longer have a fleet to catch.
This is why his commitment to walk away and not extend the Transition if a Free Trade Deal isn’t reached must be kept.
We hope post-election that the ERG once again reverts to championing a genuine Brexit rather than party cause; that the Brexit Party holds a number of seats to create a Brexit Parliament and hold feet to the fire; and that the DUP hold a similar position alongside them.
Anyone who believes in genuine British Independence must ensure that the majority of the political establishment, who will remain unchanged by this election, don’t try to yet again extend our fealty to the EU through a perpetual Transition and that we are not signed into the dire terms of the Political Declaration.
- Establish an agreement on “access and quota shares”.
- Based on “Non-discrimination” – the founding principle of equal access to a common resource.
- A “level playing field” of regulatory alignment – no doubt with CFP rules.
- With fishing to be levered as “part of the overall economic partnership” – the EU has made clear umpteen times they will demand access to waters for a trade deal.
- Continued “Flagships” – Worst of all, under Paragraph 29, the UK would be prohibited from impinging on Freedom of Establishment. Meaning we could do nothing to reinstate Mrs Thatcher’s 1988 Economic Link which was overridden by the ECJ. This sought to ensure EU owned but UK registered “Flagships” were majority British owned and crewed and landed & processed the majority of their catches in Britain to deliver genuine economic benefit to towns like Grimsby. These Flagships have appropriated half the quota the UK does get as they bought out British family fishermen struggling with the initial loss of this country’s resources. Even if we took back control of our waters, Paragraph 29 would forbid Britain from stopping the whole EU fleet trying to re-register here and buy out what’s left of our fleet.
- It’s clear we are being set up by the Political Declaration to be driven towards CFP “associate” membership as provided for in Paragraphs 118 and 120.
No other nation on earth trades Fishing access and governance as part of any Trade Deal. Norway certainly doesn’t.
The loss of access to catch 60% of the fish in British waters will mean EU markets will need UK seafood supplies more than ever. The UK has a huge position of strength on fishing.
Fishing must be removed from the Political Declaration and the UK must be;
● Entirely free of the CFP and able to exercise exclusive sovereignty over our EEZ.
● Only grant limited annual access when the UK receives a reciprocal value of fishing opportunities.
● ONLY when the EU has recognised the UKs rightful Zonal Attachment share of NE Atlantic Fish stocks.
● Be free to enforce a robust Economic link so UK registered vessels deliver genuine economic benefit to this country.
● Ban Pulse fishing and industrial fishing for Sandeels.
Brexiteers (anyone patriotic who cares about Britain’s communities) must fight to ensure this happens, that fishing is removed from the Political Declaration and the above clauses are legislated for in the Fisheries Bill.
So Fishing isn’t traded away a second time because, in Boris own words to the Commons, that would be a “reprehensible thing to do”, especially when towns like Grimsby could see a Brexit boom from taking back control of our fishing.
For everyone should remember, amid the uproar against Mrs Mays deal, one response about fishing from a eurosceptic member of her party stood out.
“This is not what was promised to the people of this country,” the MP raged, “let alone the fishing communities of Scotland. And if history teaches us anything, it is that our European friends will not desist until they have worked out a way to plunder Scottish waters for their fish.”
May’s Withdrawal Agreement simply reinvented the Common Fisheries Policy, the MP said, but with the EU holding all the cards, bullying and blackmailing until it got what it wanted.
That MP was Boris Johnson