Dutch trawler fleet reacts strongly to ban on fishing in British waters
Dutch fishing vessels will no longer be able to cast their nets in the zone up to 12 nautical miles from the British coast, the BBC reported on Sunday.
This ban also applies to trawlers from Ireland, France, Belgium and Germany.
The industry’s greatest fear is that this zone will be extended to 200 miles from the British coast, ending a convention signed in 1964, before Britain joined what became the EU.
Dutch fisheries union, the Nederlandse Vissersbond, said it was ‘stunned’ by the decision.
‘We realised that Brexit would result in major changes, but never dreamed the British would abandon the fishing treaty in place for more than 50 years,’ said chairman Johan Nooitgedagt in the AD on Monday.
Nooitgedagt said if Dutch trawlers could fish only in the waters of the Dutch continental shelf, ‘this would be a disaster, reducing the annual Dutch catch by 60% to 70%.’ He added that Dutch fishing vessels spent a lot of time in British waters landing flat fish, sole, plaice and herring.
Britain has a large slice of the North Sea and if it wants to renegotiate, the Dutch fishing industry will be dealt a major blow, he said.
British environment secretary Michael Gove said the move would help take back control of fishing access to UK waters. The European Commission said it ‘took note’ but felt the convention had been superseded by EU law.
The London Fisheries Convention sits alongside the EU Common Fisheries Policy, which allows all European countries access between 12 and 200 nautical miles of Britain and sets quotas for how much fish nations can catch.
Michael Gove told the BBC’s Andrew Marr the change was about ‘taking back control’ of British waters, up to 12 miles from the coast. When Britain leaves the EU it will become ‘independent coastal state’, he said.
He said the EU’s common fisheries policy had been an environmental disaster and the government wanted to change that, upon Brexit, to ensure sustainable fish stocks in future.
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