Since the transition period ended, the UK and EU have been at loggerheads over quotas and access to the UK’s territorial waters. Things hit a brick wall last week after a huge row between the UK and EU over quotas for 100 species kicked off.
UK fishermen have also complained skinflint EU buyers are exploiting Brexit to pay rock bottom prices for their hauls.
With the talks stuck in a quagmire, UK fishermen are now urging the government to look further afield for trade deals with non-EU partners.
UK Fisheries, which runs one of Hull’s last remaining trawlers, today said that outside of the EU there is a “smart deal waiting to be struck”.
The company, which owns trawler Kirkella, said: “We know that our coastal partners are ready to talk.
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“The Norwegians, for example, are heavily dependent on access to British waters and British markets. There is a smart deal waiting to be struck.
“Having directly linked trade and access in its Trade and Cooperation Agreement with the EU, there is no possible reason for HMG (Her Majesty’s Government) not to use its full bargaining power with Norway, freed of the redundant dogma that trade talks and access talks are somehow separate processes.
“And importantly, in landing a Norwegian deal our negotiators would set a precedent for deals with our other independent coastal partners such as the Faroes and Greenland (and, why not, Iceland).
“Not only that, they would show their faith in the potential for all of the British industry to survive, invest and grow.”
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They added that striking such deals would “quickly deliver an ambitious deal for British fishermen” – allowing the long-neglected industry to grow.
The UK and EU held a third round of heated talks over setting 2021 fishing quotas last week.
It comes after the UK Government published provisional catch limits for UK fishermen to ensure fishing continues uninterrupted until annual fisheries negotiations with the EU conclude.
Fisheries Minister Victoria Prentis said the quotas will help to ensure the UK is a “responsible independent coastal state” for the “first time in 40 years”.
Under the proposed UK figures, it is expected that UK fishermen will receive an increase in quota for 57 species of fish.
However, shares for species such as Channel cod will not change with EU boats catching more than 90 percent of the species each year.
UK Fisheries said the biggest challenge facing its industry is the “failure by the UK government to maintain or enhance the rights of British fishermen to catch fish for the British market”.
But it said it has “every faith in our negotiators, as long as they have a sensible mandate from the policymakers”.
They added: “(With this they) could deliver a really bright future for fishers in all four UK nations, spread between large and small operators and all types of ownership.
“Whatever is holding talks up, the government now needs to adopt a smart approach and quickly deliver an ambitious deal for British fishermen.
“UK Fisheries has tens of millions of pounds to invest in the future of distant-waters fishing in the North-East, but this can’t and won’t wait for much longer.”