Government Has No Legal Basis to Sacrifice British Fishing A Second Time

Chancellor Hammond’s suggestion that Britain’s fishing industry could be sold out in negotiations and sacrificed a second time is a stark indication that Remainers are looking to betray coastal constituencies and Brexit.

Brexiteers such as Mr Gove have a tremendous chance to ensure the fantastic opportunity of automatically regaining all control and access to our waters is realised as a triumph for all concerned.

Mr Gove can enact world leading real time management with a bespoke British discard free Effort Control fisheries policy so vessels catch less but land all catches in exchange for a limit on time at sea.

This will allow better harvesting and sustainability and let our coastal communities rebuild whilst making a clean break and not continuing the dysfunctional Common Fisheries Policy.

The British people will not accept a second betrayal of our fishing industry and the squandering of the opportunity which is why many coastal constituencies voted for Brexit and the Conservatives.

There is no legal obligation or need to continue letting EU vessels fish in UK waters – where they take 59% of catches.

Article 70 of the Vienna Convention says: “the termination of a treaty does not affect any rights, obligations or legal situations created through the treaty…. unless the treaty otherwise provides or the parties otherwise agree”.

Quite clearly, as the EU has agreed through Article 50 that “the treaties shall cease to apply”, the EU Common Fisheries Policy and all its laws will too.

The EU can’t claim acquired or continued rights and there is no legal reason nor need to barter away what could be a £6.3bn beacon of success to rejuvenate communities.

The UK reverting to international law will see the end of the CFP of ‘equal access to a common resource’ and the ‘relative stability Quota system’ that divides up resources and causes mass discarding of fish”.

It is time for this government to stop pussy footing and trying to do Brexit in name only and grasp the opportunity to fulfill the government’s own statement that

On leaving the EU, the UK will control fisheries access in its Exclusive Economic Zone and manage those waters in accordance with international law, including UNCLOS. As a coastal state outside the EU, the UK will be responsible, under international law, for control of UK waters and the sustainable management of fisheries.

International law under UNCLOS says a coastal state need only “give access to the surplus of its resources” BUT that the “coastal state shall determine the level of catch” in its waters.

Therefore, there is no legal basis or obligation under international law to allow any access to British waters post Brexit and the only way we can lose our waters and resources is if the government gives them away again.

Mr Hammond had better stop his dog whistling and kite flying for the Remainers in the government, especially on an issue that is an ‘acid test’ of Brexit.

Mr Gove has no better opportunity to be remembered as a hero and not a villain and we hope he takes this opportunity for his sake and ours.