Thursday, 1 December 2016

Does Urk lose its fish through Brexit?

Brexit - a view from fishermen and fishworkers at Urk, the biggest Dutch fish auction - one of the first in Europe to be computerised to enable remote buying.
This report is from NOS, the largest news organisation in the Nederlands - translation by Google.

On the few places in the Netherlands Brexit-referendum last summer with much interest followed as in Urk. The greatest fear of the people of Urk was true: the British voted for - Urk therefore risks losing its fishing industry.

Of all Dutch fish are very few caught in Dutch waters. The fishing boats from Urk usually sail across the North Sea to British waters. There can be caught more fish thanks to European rules is that legal. The Dutch ships may arrive at about twenty kilometers from the British coast.

That British fishermen an eyesore. They voted en-masse for the Brexit. UKIP and other proponents fishermen promised that they would get back at their seas. They want the zone of 20 kilometers 'own water' is extended to 372 kilometers. There may then no Dutch boats sailing more.

UKIP MEP Ray Finch looks forward to the day when his countrymen regain the exclusive right to fish in British waters. "The seas with most fish in Europe are British If we were to come to the Netherlands and would say. We find you tulips beautiful, we want a part of it, you would not be very happy, we are not happy.. "

The British are so satisfied, but the Urkers fear an economic disaster. Take the director of the auction, Teun Visser. He fears for its survival. "If we lose half of the field where we can fish, then that is a tragedy. The English seem be keen to make it happen. Individual fishermen, own water. So that makes you afraid yes."

"The Brexit is a disaster for Urk '
"It's a tragedy for the Netherlands as the brexit continues as the British than want," says fisherman Andries de Boer. "Because 70 to 80 percent of our revenues come from British waters."

Not that Urkers now are such strong supporters of the EU. In 2005, more than 90 percent of Urk against the European Constitution. In any municipality in the Netherlands did so massively. Fishermen from Urk often have to deal with European rules. Apparently they were not satisfied.

A group of MEPs visited Urk today. Peter van Dalen of the Christian Union hopes to put the fishery on the agenda. "The Dutch government must bet here full on. Fishing should not be low on the negotiating agenda, but at the top. This is a lot of work and it's important to keep that work."

Urk they have little confidence that it succeeds. "We fear the future," says fisherman De Boer.