Scottish Fishermen’s Federation Says It Doesn’t Want to Leave the CFP In 2019!
At Fishing for Leave we are disgusted at such a blatant betrayal of Britain’s coastal communities by an organisation that purports to “represent” fishermen and feel sorry for the remaining members.
The true colours of a small clique of pro-EU corporate interests that run the SFF are shining through – it’s the same old story of why the SFF wouldn’t back EU withdrawal for 20 years, weren’t on the Thames flotilla and wouldn’t publicly support Brexit even when the opportunity arose.
The SFF hid behind neutrality, along with the EU “flagship” controlled NFFO, as it was left to the majority of fishermen behind Fishing for Leave to fight to escape the disastrous CFP. Now with the majority of fishermen and the public voting to ‘take back control’ of our waters to Save Britain’s Fish and coastal communities they are using language that makes it seem they still don’t want to leave.
The SFF have just undermined Secretary of State Michael Gove and Minister George Eustice who are fighting superbly hard in cabinet and government to stop fishing being trapped in the CFP as part of a ‘transition’ with their calls to get out in March 2019 with no transition for fishing, which has the full support of the majority of the industry behind Fishing for Leave.
Fishing for Leave have tried to warn the SFF to “change their tune” on the language they were using regards the governments proposed transition period, not to compound this by uttering that we shouldn’t leave the CFP in 2019.
We have been continually highlighting that the EU’s terms for a transition are continued obedience to ALL current and new EU laws including the CFP. This is a serious concerns that the EU could enforce punitive laws on the UK industry during that time to force more British fishermen to quit.
In Westminster this week we have highlighted to government that were the EU able to cull the UK’s fleet and catching capacity in the transition they could then use international law to claim the Britain’s fish resources that the British fleet would no longer have the capacity to catch.
It is therefore vital we take the clean slate Article 50 provides and leave the CFP in March 2019 and not get embroiled in a transition.
Otherwise we will be trapped with continuing the CFP and quota system which forces fishermen to discard to find the species their quota let’s them keep.
If the EU can enforce the ill-founded discard ban, when fishermen will have to stop fishing when they hit their lowest quota, government statistics from Seafish show 60% of what’s left of the UK fleet will go to the wall.
The EU can then cite international law under UNCLOS Article 62.2 that if a nation no longer has the capacity to catch its resources it should give the ‘surplus’ to its neighbours.
Article 62.2 Utilization of the living resources
Where the coastal State does not have the capacity to harvest the entire allowable catch, it shall, through agreements or other arrangements…give other States access to the surplus of the allowable catch.
Fishing for Leave have pushed to offer “squatters rights” to the EU to fill the gap between Britain leaving the CFP in March 2019 and being able to take our seat at international negotiations that Autumn.
This would mean the UK would reclaim the fair share of resources international law confers but then “benevolently” give the EU a short-term loan on notice rather than be trapped in the Common Fisheries Policy as part of a transition.
Offering ‘squatters rights’ under national control is an entirely different legal position to a transition where we will have in effect re-joined the CFP, reversing the clean break of Article 50 and the British peoples demand to ‘take back control’ of our money, laws borders and waters.
If the government does not do this then we will see the Brexit “acid test” of the fishing betrayed a second time –the SFF not wanting to escape the CFP to avoid this happening plays right into the Remainers hands of continued close regulatory alignment under a transition and is a dereliction of duty of their remaining members and a downright disgrace.