Barrie Deas, CEO of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisation (NFFO, dismantled a proposed climbdown from Brussels as he warned the Channel Islands are Crown Dependencies with a “unique legal status” and will not form part of a compromised fishing arrangement. Britain is set to leave the controversial Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and take back control of its coastline after the Brexit transition period on December 31.
Brussels has so far refused to agree to a free trade deal unless the EU is granted access to British waters, and it is understood Brussels has put forward the idea of installing different fishing rights around the Channel Islands, including Jersey and Guernsey.
The proposal would most likely give EU fishermen less access to the territories than it currently has under the CFP, but more than if the UK had sole control.
The CEO of the NFFO, which represents fishermen in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, has insisted Boris Johnson will not cave in to the idea.
Mr Deas told Express.co.uk: “The Channel Islands are one of the Crown Dependencies and already have a unique legal status.
“But I don’t think that they will be sacrificed either or that sacrificing them would solve the differences between the UK and the EU on fisheries, which are fundamentally about access and quota shares.”
The Channel Islands have a unique status and are not part of the UK but are self-governing dependencies of the Crown.
The Islands have their own directly elected legislative assemblies, administrative, fiscal and legal systems.
However, the Westminster-based UK Government is responsible for the defence and international relations of the Islands.
David Jones, deputy chairman of the European Research Group, added: “It would be unfair on British and Channel Islands fishermen if any such suggestion was to be accepted.”
UK Brexit negotiator David Frost has been consistently told the EU that Britain will take back sovereign control of its fishing waters, and Mr Deas is confident the UK will not back down despite trade talks reaching the climax.
He said: “Nothing that we have heard suggests that the UK fishing industry is about to be sacrificed by the Government to secure other negotiating objectives. The opposite in fact.
“We have received assurances that no deal will be signed with the EU that prejudices the UK’s status, after the end of the transition period, as an independent coastal state.”
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A Number 10 spokesman said: “Our position on fisheries has been consistent throughout.
“We’ve been clear that we won’t accept any proposals which compromise our sovereignty of our own fishing waters.
“The draft UK-EU fisheries framework agreement is based on the bilateral arrangement with Norway that the EU already has, that continues to be our approach.”