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EU fishing panic as Danish fishermen rage at Brexit deal: 'We will lose our livelihoods!'


The UK’s trade deal with the EU has resulted in changes to the fishing quotas enjoyed by European vessels in British waters. This agreement ensures that 25 percent of EU boats’ fishing rights in UK waters will be transferred to the British fleet over a period of five years. After that, annual negotiations will decide how the catch is shared out between the UK and EU, and Britain would have the right to completely exclude EU boats after 2026. Many in Europe were relieved that an EU-UK trade deal was pushed over the line to avoid a no deal scenario, but Danish fishermen remain furious with the current terms.

Following the deal’s approval in December, chairman of the Danish Fisheries Association, Svend Erik-Andersen, warned that livelihoods could be lost as Denmark’s quota reduces.

He said: “This is very serious. We expect fishermen to lose their livelihoods, and it will be a hard blow against Denmark and against North and West Jutland, where fishing plays a special role and is the lifeblood of many local communities.

“I have deep sympathy for the people who risk losing their jobs and livelihoods as a result of this unfair deal.

“This applies to our own members. And this applies to those who are employed in the follow-up industries around the fishing ports.

“It is very worrying that the bill for Brexit hits some fishermen harder than others. It seems that the consumer fishery will pay an unreasonably large share of the price for access, and it can be devastating for their business.”

Mr Erik-Andersen praised his Government for standing up for Danish fishermen, but warned they will need support to cope with the changes.

He concluded: “Even though we stand by the result we feared, the government should be praised for having fought for Danish fishing.

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“Unfortunately, the persistent efforts have not been enough. Now the government must show that they support the fishery. We therefore call for political negotiations to be convened on a Brexit package for Danish fisheries.

“The package must ensure that we maintain as many jobs as possible in the short and long term, and that we also equip the fishery to contribute even more to the green transition, where Danish fisheries are already at the forefront of the most sustainable in the world.”

In 2017, Denmark built a legal case claiming the country’s historic rights to fish in Britain’s waters date back to the 1400s.

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Denmark’s foreign affairs minister, Anders Samuelsen, told The Guardian at the time that the issue was crucial to many communities in Denmark and that they would be making their case through the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier.

He said: “Danish fishermen have historically been fishing across the North Sea. The Common Fisheries Policy in the EU has regulated this, based on historical rights and preserving our common stocks that don’t follow economic zones.

“Clearly, this is very important for many fishing communities especially along the Jutland coast, and we all put our full support behind the EU’s negotiators to find the best way forward.”


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