Friday, 15 May 2020

Brexit negotiations - why aren't the MSM all over this?!

I think many fishermen are still waiting for some information on exactly what the government is really thinking. The spin is that the UK government is still fighting to deliver on it's promise to to back control of UK waters; the fact is, there is nothing to fight over in that respect, since the UK has become an independent coastal state by matter of law with all the rights and obligations. 

Ian Kinsey, ex fisherman, independent consultant, pragmatic bridge-builder ponders the current situation:

"The matter that needs discussing is a renegotiation of CS shares - what the UK chooses to do with any additional quota over the present RS shares is up to the government both in amount and duration. Win-win deals are negotiated not by fear and procrastination, but by creating appeal and some form of certainty. 
The mainstream media continually reiterates the UK governments aspiration for a Norwegian style fisheries arrangement with the EU; where quota levels and access are agreed annually: I participated in the annual EU-NOR fisheries negotiations 2003 -7, as part of the Norwegian delegation; quotas were discussed and agreed, but only the total allowable catches or TACs for stocks shared by the EU and Norway. What share of each stock the EU and Norway would receive, had already been agreed in 1979 by way of discussions solely for the purpose of agreeing on coastal state shares; the discussions were limited at that time to 6 main species: cod, saithe, haddock, whiting, herring, and mackerel. This was an agreement that was negotiated and agreed from a position of Norway being a third country, without any previous ties linking fishing to trade with the EU. Norway agreed a deal and became a member of the EETA in 1992, with the membership coming into effect on 1 January 1994.
The annual EU - Nor negotiations cover TAC levels in relation to scientific advice from ICES, management plans, technical regulations, quota swaps, terms of reciprocal access, and any other business AoB.
I am bewildered at the lack of interest/scrutiny from the UK media as to the details of the proposals put forward by David Frost and his team as to what the future fisheries relationship would look like in to Zonal attachment, and the course of action/timeframe needed to achieve an agreement on it. 
What responsible government would sacrifice the greater good of the country, for the sake of an industry where the symbolic value (although important for some coastal communities) far outweighs its contribution to the national GDP. Fisheries appear to be a "pothole" in the "easiest trade deal ever" road to Brexit, where the government appears to prefer digging up the whole road, rather than filling in the pothole. 
There seems to be little or no coverage in the UK media concerning the fact that the EU fully recognises the UK as an independent coastal state that has full control of its waters; and that the EU is not seeking to impose the CFP on a third country. The message coming over in the media is spun in a way that gives the impression that the EU wants to keep the UK shackled to the CFP. The EU mandate clearly states what the member states want from a future relationship on fisheries in terms of quota and access - whereas the UK hasn't been willing to put figures on the table in relation to what it deems to be a "fairer share" of the EU-UK shared "fishcake".
Fisheries will need a fisheries specific extended transition/plan for ascertaining the UK's preferred Zonal attachment as the means of defining a fairer quota share for the UK; a timeline for quota repatriation/divestment etc. All of this needs to be based on a comprehensive coherent plan."

Thoughts and comments welcome!