Gove’s Pledge On Fishing Can Only Be Delivered If The Political Declaration Is Scrapped

It is good to hear Michael Gove say there will only ANNUAL access negotiations AND that trade & access will be kept separate – No different to Norway, Iceland & Faroe!

BUT – does this mean Conservatives will scrap the fishing terms of the Political Declaration..?

These legally oblige us under Article 184 of the Withdrawal Agreement to barter fishing “as part of the “wider economic partnership”

Whilst having “access & quota shares” based on “non-discrimination” and a “level playing field”.

All whilst being pushed towards CFP “associate” membership – the EU’s made clear this is what the Withdrawal Agreement means.

If the Conservatives don’t scrap the Political Declaration fishing terms, then it is legally IMPOSSIBLE to deliver what Mr Gove is pledging.

Not whilst agreeing a Free Trade Deal that must be based on the Political Declaration.

The only way would to be to quit the Transition period with No Deal.

It’s why Fishing for Leave wouldn’t short-sightedly back a bad deal like the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation.

The above renders saying we “will leave the CFP and take back control” a moot point – the CFP “ceases to apply” under Article 50 the moment we leave.

What ruins this is re-obeying the CFP for the Transition period and then being compelled by the Withdrawal Agreement to agree to arrangements the EU is demanding in the Political Declaration

ALSO – why does Mr Gove describe only ‘territorial waters’ (i.e. only out to 12 miles) rather than say ‘our waters’ or waters within our EEZ (i.e. out to 200 miles or the mid-line)…?

After his time at DEFRA and as lead minister on preparations for leaving he surely knows the difference not to have such a slip of the tongue..?

What we need is fishing removed from the Political Declaration and any government must be free of the CFP so as to legislate that the UK must be;

•             Entirely free of the CFP and able to exercise exclusive sovereignty over our EEZ.

•             Grant only limited annual access ONLY when the UK receives a reciprocal value of fishing opportunities.

•             Doing so ONLY when the EU has recognised the UKs rightful Zonal Attachment share of NE Atlantic Fish stocks.

•             With freedom to enforce a robust Economic link so UK registered vessels deliver genuine economic benefit to this country.

•             Doing so whilst also banning Pulse fishing and industrial fishing for Sandeels.

Brexiteers – anyone patriotic who cares about communities – must fight to ensure this happens and is legislated for in the Fisheries Bill.

If any deal prohibits the UK from legislating for and achieving the above 5 points then it is not Brexit nor true independence.

If MPs of any political stripe can commit to delivering the points above, which requires not surrendering to EU demands on Fishing under the terms of the Political Declaration, then they deserve fishing communities vote.

 If they cannot give their constituents in those communities this assurance, then they don’t deserve to represent one of Britain’s great industries as they’ve no intention to fight whole heartedly for it.