Further to the leak last week, that the EU will play hard ball on fisheries, Fishing for Leave warn again that an immediate crunch test of the government on Brexit is whether they denounce the London Fisheries Convention of 1964.
They must do so within the next 6 weeks to prove their resolve on “taking back control of our borders” and whether Brexit means Brexit.
As the London Convention 1964 is an agreement to recognise historic rights of access to fish in UK waters for various European nations, but only for between 6 and 12 miles.
The rights of access to fish in UK waters between 12 and 200 nautical miles are derived entirely through the disastrous EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).
When EU law and the CFP “ceases to apply” on withdrawal, as per the terms of Article 50, the UK will automatically regain all fishing waters and resources between our 12 and 200 mile limits.
However, previous agreements in force before entering the EEC in 1973, such as the London Convention 1964, will still apply.
Consequently, continuing the London Convention will allow “back door” access to the sea area between 6 and 12 miles around the UK.
This would squander the chance to regain all control of our rich fishing resources whilst allowing legal challenge from the EU for continued rights.
As the government must give two years notice, in writing, to denounce this Convention the government must do so at the same time as it submits notice on Article 50.
If the government doesn’t take the easy step of closing this “back door” access to UK waters, it would signal that the government has no resolve on fisheries or Brexit.
It squander the diplomatic position of strength of controlling all access to UK waters and it would show that Britain’s rich fishing waters, worth a potential £6.3bn to the economy annually, are to be betrayed a second time.
Fishing for Leave have made this pertinently clear to all relevant officials on numerous occasions and have written to DexEU and DEFRA to seek their assurance that this Convention is denounced within 6 weeks.
Whether the government denounces the London Convention in the next 6 weeks before Article 50 will be the first test of the government’s commitment on Brexit.
With the Great “Repeal” Bill proposing continuing all EU laws, including the disastrous CFP, Fishing for Leave believes the government has no desire to rock the boat with the EU.
The establishment perceive Britain’s fishing industry as an inconvenience to this strategy despite the massive £6.3 billion boom it could provide to coastal communities whilst being a beacon for the success of Brexit.
Fisheries will signify whether we’ve “taken back control of our borders”, it epitomizes our surrender to the EU and will therefore be the “acid test” of Brexit.
Therefore, whether the London Convention is denounced is one of the first, immediate tests of the governments resolve and commitment on Brexit.