Many countries in the EU have coastal communities which depend, at least partly, on unfettered access to UK waters – permitted under the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). However, the CFP has angered many British fishermen, causing many to vote leave in 2016’s referendum as they hope to gain priority in their own waters. Meanwhile, fishermen in Europe are concerned this may hurt their businesses, a worry vocalised by some in the Netherlands earlier this year. In February, ITV interviewed Dutch fishermen at the port of Den Helder as they have their thoughts on Brexit trade talks.
Diek Parlevliet, chairman of the Dutch Fish Marketing Board, said: “We have fished there [UK waters] for the last 400 years and we want to continue doing so for the next 400 years.
“We don’t want to give up one kilo.”
Another, Guido Betsema, told ITV he spends 80 percent of his time fishing in UK waters, admitted he was afraid of a post-Brexit transition period scenario.
He said: “I’m afraid that the UK say: ‘Stop. No fishing in our waters.'”
Meanwhile, skipper Cor Vonk made a direct plea to Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
He said: “Boris, think about the Dutch, think about our families, it’s not a game we are talking about people.”
As the reported highlighted however, concerns were also prevalent among UK fishermen who hoped the prime minister doesn’t go back on his promise to take back control of British waters,
Barry Young from the Brixham Trawler Agents said: “We have had to give to our European friends for the last 30 years, so maybe it’s their turn now to give a little bit back.
“We do understand there will be some negotiations but lets not do it so the UK fishing industry suffers once again and we are sold down the river like a pilchard.”
Concerns were also evident in France, where fishermen also depend om access to British fishing grounds.
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Before the UK left the bloc on January 31, EU member states were allowed to dip into Britain’s wealth of landing under the Common Fisheries Policy, angering many fishermen north of the English Channel.
France is one of many nations dependent on British fishing grounds.
Between 2012-2016 for example, France caught 120,000 tonnes of fish worth £171million, according to Marine Management Organisation figures.