French fisherman in furious Brexit outburst against EU: ‘Not enough resources!’

Last week, France‘s Minister for the Sea, Annick Girardin, reassured fishermen they had done well out of Brexit talks – particularly in Jersey waters. Ms Girardin said France welcomed the agreement reached by French President Emmanuel Macron and Secretary of State for European Affairs Clement Beaune. The EU–UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) that was signed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the EU on December 30 will enable fishermen from the bloc to access UK waters for five and a half years.

But Ms Girardin has reassured French fishermen they will not be the “victims of Brexit”.

She said: “They wanted all of their waters to themselves, but we kept all of the access.”

The trade deal allows the EU to keep 75 percent of the value of the fish it now catches in UK waters, with 25 percent being returned to British fishermen over the transition period.

From 2026, Britain will be able to cut quotas or exclude boats in a zone of 6-12 nautical miles.

It is also believed UK boats will have access to an extra £145million of fishing quota every year by this period.

However, an EU Member State-flagged vessel has no right to fish in UK waters until a licence is issued under the new rules.

Once the licence is obtained, the vessel can sail and engage in fishing activities in British waters.

A French fisherman from Boulogne-sur-Mer, a coastal city in Northern France, has apparently been waiting three weeks for the license.

Jérémy Lhomel believes Brexit is just the straw that broke the camel’s back, as he blamed the EU for overfishing and having to depend so much on UK waters.

He told Ouest France: “If there were enough resources in our waters, we would not be so dependent on those of the English.

“The sea here is overexploited.”

Another fisherman from Boulogne, Mathieu Pinto, is also concerned about overfishing.

He said: “The Dutch trawlers who fish with Danish seine are ruthless.

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“Their technique is unstoppable.

“They have become too efficient to give the fish any chance. “

In the Pinto family, fishing is something passed on from generation to generation.

However, something has changed.

Mr Pinto noted: “My father would go fishing two hours maximum from Boulogne and bring back 300 to 400 kg of fish.

“I do a good four to five hour drive. And if I return with 150 kg. I am the happiest in the world. “

In a report for the Brexit think tank ‘Red Cell’ titled ‘Putting The Fisheries Negotiations Into Context’ and published in March, the leader of Save Britain’s Fish John Ashworth explained why the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) has been so detrimental to the seas.

Mr Ashworth argued that “contrary to europhiles’ assertions”, the EU did not save stocks but caused a myriad of problems – ones which it still fails to address.

He wrote: “The EU caused overfishing through ‘equal access to a common resource’, which stopped Britain exercising her rights to manage her waters and address increasing vessel technology and power.

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“The EU gave grants to build more powerful boats and incentivised overfishing with minimum market prices which stopped market gluts and low prices halting over supply.

“The EU’s caused a problem and then implemented quotas which do not work in mixed fisheries.

“Fishermen cannot determine what mix of species they catch. Quotas led to illegal landings or mass discarding.

“Quotas forced fishermen to overfish and catch more than necessary to find what they could keep.

“Quotas caused inaccurate science and exacerbated the fleet over-capacity already caused by the EU.

“To add insult to injury, when quotas were set under EU ‘relative stability shares’, the UK only received 25 percent of the resources although British waters contributed half the seas and catches.”

As the system failed, Mr Ashworth noted, the EU heaped on more rules and bureaucracy to try to make a bad system work.

He added: “This deprivation of our own management and resources, coupled with EU-funded over capacity and a failed quota system, is what killed over half the British fleet.

“Some say this is accidental; others think it a deliberate series of pretexts to cull the British fleet to make way for an EU fleet ruled by an EU policy.”

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