As the UK Government scrambles to seal a deal with the EU over fishing after Brexit, UK Fisheries has warned Boris Johnson not to lose sight of the nation’s Nordic non-EU neighbours. They said the “opportunity is there” for Britain to “guarantee its future”.
The group said Brexit was an opportunity for Britain to “assert its independence and use the size of its domestic market for fish to strike better fisheries access deals” with places like Norway, Greenland, the Faroe Islands and Iceland.
They argued the UK has “strong cards to play”.
British Fisheries wrote: “The future of the UK’s distant waters fleet is in jeopardy if we don’t take great care in ongoing negotiations with our Nordic non-EU coastal neighbours. The opportunity is there for our negotiating teams to guarantee its future. We must now take it.
“The UK runs a trade deficit with the Nordic coastal fishing nations amounting to almost a billion pounds annually. It’s a very one-sided arrangement.
“As a newly-independent coastal state, the UK has the opportunity to assert its independence and use the size of its domestic market for fish to strike better fisheries access deals with Norway, Greenland and the Faeroes – and with Iceland, where currently we can’t fish at all.
“Most of the fish we eat in the UK comes from distant waters, and not from the UK. We like cod, haddock, salmon and prawns – species that are most abundant in the northern waters between Norway and Greenland, and far less so in our own Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
“What we catch in our own waters is mostly exported to the EU. So the fish-based Nordic economies are reliant on the UK for exports of their fish (salmon, cod, haddock and prawns).
”Brexit will give us the ability to leverage our billion-pound domestic market for fish to maintain or improve access to these Nordic waters.
“Make no mistake, our Nordic coastal partners recognise that the UK has strong cards to play. They’re just surprised that we haven’t played them yet.”
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7.39am update: Liz Truss details border concerns
The International Trade Secretary has warned Boris Johnson’s Brexit border plans may be vulnerable to a World Trade Organisation challenge in a leaked letter in which she raised concerns over smuggling.
Liz Truss wrote to Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove expressing her “key areas of concerns” on Wednesday, according to the Business Insider website.
In the email she reportedly warned the UK would “be vulnerable to WTO challenge” over its border policy by temporarily giving the EU preferential treatment in the absence of a trade deal.