Wed. May 22nd, 2024

Whinging EU demands talks with UK after being left furious over new Brexit fishing rule

Jamie Roberts By Jamie Roberts May8,2024

Furious European Union officials have demanded talks with the British Government over a new fishing regulation, which has sparked anger among Eurocrats.

The European Commission wants an explanation three months after leaders in London and devolved Scotland announced the end of industrial sand eel fishing.

This announcement, dating back to the end of January, was made on environmental grounds and was welcomed by, among others, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).

But the decision to ban the industrial fishing of sand eel in the English waters of the North Sea and all Scottish waters respectively has sparked anger in Denmark.

This has led leaders in Brussels to trigger on April 16 the dispute settlement mechanism in the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA).

When triggered, this mechanism asks the EU and Britain to try to reach an agreement on the matter within 30 days – or more, if they agree to extend talks.

If the parties can’t strike a deal, Brussels may request an arbitration tribunal adjudicate on the “compatibility of the UK’s measures” with provisions in the agreement, which the EU executive said called for an “evidence-based, proportionate and non-discriminatory” approach to marine conservation.

EU Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius said: “The UK’s permanent closure of the sand eel fishery deprives EU vessels from fishing opportunities, but also impinges on basic commitments under the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement.”

EU fishing vessels maintained reciprocal access to British waters after Brexit, in accordance with the trade agreement that followed the decision to leave the bloc.

The Commission was pressured to summon the UK for talks by Sweden and Denmark, who raised the issue at an EU Council summit of agriculture ministers in late February.

Denmark holds over 90 percent of the combined EU/UK quota for the diminutive fish of around 160,000 tonnes.

A third of this has been allocated to areas in British waters, mostly within the Scottish region.

Hitting out at the fresh British environmental regulation, Mr Sinkevičius said: “Measures are already in place to protect this important species, including by setting catches below the scientific advised levels and closed areas for protecting seabirds.”

The ban on sand eel fishing came after decades of campaigning by the RSPB and other environmental organisations.

The association protecting birds and wildlife was keen on the ban as it said overfishing was one of the factors behind the depletion of the sand eel population, which has a knock-on effect on seabirds as many species, including puffins, rely on these fish to feed their chicks.

Welcoming the announcement, RSPB Chief Executive Beccy Speight said in January: “Answering the RSPB’s call to end industrial sand eel fishing, today’s announcements are a vital lifeline from the UK and Scottish Governments for our seabirds in our waters when they need it most. The UK is home to globally important seabird colonies, but these populations are in decline with their resilience being pushed to the limit, with these much-loved birds at the forefront of the nature and climate emergency.

“To support the recovery of our seabirds, the RSPB has long recommended an end to industrial sand eel fishing in UK waters to secure vital food sources for these amazing birds.”

Jamie Roberts

By Jamie Roberts

Jamie is an award-winning investigative journalist with a focus on uncovering corruption and advocating for social justice. With over a decade of experience in the field, Jamie's work has been instrumental in bringing about positive change in various communities.

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2 thoughts on “Whinging EU demands talks with UK after being left furious over new Brexit fishing rule”
  1. As an environmental advocate, I believe that the UK’s decision to ban industrial sand eel fishing for marine conservation purposes is a positive step. The EU’s demand for talks to reopen this fishery goes against the principles of sustainability and conservation. It’s crucial to prioritize the protection of marine life over short-term economic interests.

  2. Fuming EU officials are demanding talks with the British Government over the new fishing rule. The decision to ban sand eel fishing has stirred up a storm of anger among Eurocrats. The European Commission’s move to trigger the dispute settlement mechanism shows how contentious this issue is. Let’s hope both parties can find a resolution soon.

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