Tuesday, 19 September 2017

The fishermen gather in Quimper, in the fog of the Brexit

It's not just UK fishermen who are concerned about the kind of Brexit being negotiated:

Concerned about a Brexit threatening their prosperity, French fishing players want to make their voices heard Thursday and Friday in Quimper, fearing to be left behind in the negotiations for divorce between London and Europeans. Do not fish "the Brexit adjustment variable": the claim often comes up in the mouths of professionals and will be in all the heads of the 500 delegates. "We do not want to be marginalized," Hubert Carré, director general of the national fisheries committee, told AFP: "for three years, we can make money, we must not allow the Brexit to achieve the equivalent of what the steel industry experienced in the 1980s, "he explains.

British secession threatens the horizon of the French fishing, the British having announced to want to regain the exclusive control of the fishing rights near their coasts. However, after very difficult years, the sector in France is doing better. Inventories have returned to sustainable levels, demand for seafood is still very high and prices are rising, and although caution is warranted, the price of gas oil is at its lowest level in three years . "Companies have earned money and that is why a number of companies are taking advantage of it" to shyly renew an aging fleet, Hubert Carré explains.

But, according to the outlines that it will adopt, the Brexit could leave to dock many armaments. Catches in British waters represent on average 30% of the catches of the French fishery. A figure that can climb very quickly to more than double in the northern regions. "You take the gangs of Dunkerque or Calais, they are 20 minutes out of the harbor, they are in British waters, it is 75% of their turnover," Hubert Carré alarmed. Hence a concern for employment: the seamen on boats are close to 15,000, not to mention the thousands of jobs on land, especially in fish trading (4,500 jobs) and processing (16,000 jobs). - Papy-boom -

Problem, the Brexit occurs while the demographic curve of the employment of the sector begins a critical turning point. Between 2016 and 2020, 1,400 entrepreneurs - 30% - retire, according to the national fisheries committee, who fears that many are not replaced. "We must defend access to water for artisanal fishing and inshore fishing ... without which there is no fishing," explained in July the Minister of Agriculture Stéphane Travert to journalists in Brussels. This will require "finding agreements" with the British, he added, trying to reassure the industry.

The British had announced two weeks earlier that they would leave the 1964 London Fishery Convention (ie before the United Kingdom acceded to the EU in 1973) to regain exclusive control over fishing rights British coasts. The signal of a willingness to negotiate a "hard" Brexit, for some, of the shock for others, even if the absence of news of the negotiations does not leave to worry. "The English also fish in European waters," recalls the boss of the port of Lorient, Maurice Benoish. "If it were a hard Brexit, it would be very bad for the French and the port of Lorient, but it would not be good for the English either," he said.

Especially since "the fish do not know the administrative boundaries that are fixed on the sea. (...) One can hope that the common sense will prevail". Another argument in the negotiations, says Hubert Carré, the British "will be completely dependent on the European market and this is where we will start saying to them: + good, you do not want European ships in your economic zone , you simply do not consume what you fish, you export everything from the United Kingdom to Europe, it's going to be give-and-take. " 

Full story courtesy of Romandie.com