The French have threatened to intercept British trawlers after Brexit, but the UK’s fisheries minister has said that this will be disappointing for France.
French threats are disappointing, Fisheries Minister George Eustice told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. We’re leaving the European Union and we expect other countries to respect our fishing rights.
The French have always been very opportunistic in the negotiations, Eustice added.
Under a 1998 deal, British fishing vessels can access waters up to 12 nautical miles from French coast, but after Brexit this will have to change. The area is one of several that will form part of the EU’s exclusive economic zone when Britain leaves the bloc in March next year.
The French have threatened to ban foreign trawlers from fishing in their waters when the UK leaves the EU after Brexit, but British Fisheries Minister, George Eustice told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that other countries respect our fishing rights. He said he would be surprised if they didn’t.
In March, the French government said If we have to start a war to secure and defend our fishermen then we’ll do it’. They’re threatening conflict with Britain because they’re trying to undermine Brexit negotiations.
The Common Fisheries Policy has been one of the most contested issues since Britain voted to leave the EU in June 2016, as Brexiteers want Britain to take advantage of its fishing rights.
However, last year a House of Lords committee said the UK’s withdrawal from the Common Fisheries Policy will result in a bitter and long dispute with Brussels. The Parliamentarians fear that ‘there is every chance that the EU will prioritise negotiations on this sector over other areas’ because it sees it as a ‘Brexit battleground’.
The EU’s fishing policy has been widely criticized by Brits and in 2014 an e-petition was created to find a way to reform it. The campaign gained support from more than 100,000 people and calls for the UK to form an independent coastal state.
Speaking on Today, Eustice said: It’s not for France to dictate the terms of how we manage our fisheries.
There are countries outside Europe with huge fleets that fish in West African waters and they don’t see us as a threat or challenge, he added. We’ll be leaving the Common Fisheries Policy but it will be disappointing for the French if they choose to ban our boats.
Nigel Farage said: This is a perfect example of the kind of nonsense we can expect from Eurocrats over the coming two years. They’re trying to punish Britain and Britain’s fishermen for having the audacity to take back control and vote for Brexit.