Brexit fury: British fishing chiefs warn ‘disastrous’ deal makes industry unviable

Boris Johnson ‘sacrificed fishing industry’ says June Mummery

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Under the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy, much of the fish caught in British waters was taken by European boats and skippers hoped Brexit would result in much of this being taken by the UK fleet. But the terms of Boris Johnson’s EU trade deal mean just 25 percent of the EU’s catch will be transferred to UK boats over the next five-and-a-half years. After this point, it will be possible to exclude European boats from British waters but this would risk retaliatory tariffs from Brussels.

Fishermen voted for Brexit because they thought they were going to govern their own waters

Andrew Locker

Andrew Locker, chairman of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations, told The Telegraph: “There is a viable industry out there.

“Ninety-nine-point-nine percent of fishermen voted for Brexit because they thought they were going to govern their own waters.

“But because of the disastrous deal we have got, there is no way we are ever going to rebuild our coastal communities and put a viable call out for recruitment of young people.”

He said he hoped the Government will be able to negotiate a far better arrangement with the EU when the transition period expires in 2026.

And he said the UK fishing industry’s demands were still the same as when he and so many voted for Brexit in the first place with control of British territorial waters and the ability to govern who fishes there topping their wish-list.

Another leading industry has lashed out at Boris Johnson over the Brexit trade deal.

Ian Perkes, a fish exporter from Brixham in Devon, told Danish broadcaster DK: “Life has become very difficult since Brexit.”

He said: “Do you think I would have voted to leave if I’d known it was going to cost me another £80,000 a year? Of course not.

“Only a fool would have voted to go out, wouldn’t he, knowing that.

“We were lied to. We were told we are going to have free trade, we were not guaranteed we were going to get our 12-mile limit back.

“But we assumed with what we were reading and what we were being told that that would be a case.”

Mr Perkes said the fishing industry felt betrayed by Brexit and would have voted differently had the impact of Britain’s departure from the EU been clear.

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He said: “Life has become very difficult since we’ve left and I don’t see no happy ending at present.

“So yeah I did get it wrong, hands up, I admitted I was wrong, but I’m not an isolated case.”

Leading Brexiteers have called on the EU to reduce bureaucracy around fish exports to the bloc.

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