Last week the Government published its long awaited White Paper on the future of fishing. The promise to taking back control on day one has proved illusory, but there are some good things in there. Becoming an independent coastal state would mean a 200 mile limit, though history our pre EU experience suggests that foreign vessels will still be allowed in. There’s no mention of how any limit would be policed -; if it’s via new technology, we won’t be in the Galileo satellite system unless we pay..
There’s to be more quota for under 10 metre boats and EU environmental standards will remain, although that, along with equal access for UK boats, are what we already have. The end of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, which benefits Britain’s fishing ports by £215 million, puts at risk regeneration after we leave. The Government is offering the Coastal Communities Fund as an alternative but plundering that risks halting investment for wider seaside town regeneration.
There’s also the suggestion that fishermen will be charged more for what they need to fish. Many fishermen whose livelihood is precarious may argue they already pay a high price. And the whale in the room is still the question of how we will be able to access markets to sell our prawns without friction at the borders or tariffs.
You can have your say by visiting the Defra website. The closing date is 12th September.