Former Brexit Party MEP Jane Mummery warned the Prime Minister against striking a temporary fishing deal with the EU and said any delays would “cripple” the industry. The owner and Founder of Renaissance of the East Anglian Fisheries (REAF) warned the Tory Government “we are watching” as the UK battles to reclaim control of its coastal waters.
Her warning comes after Environment Secretary George Eustice hinted at a fisheries compromise for the post-Brexit trade talks with the EU as an eleventh-hour attempt to break the stalemate.
But Ms Mummery hit back on Twitter, writing: “No extensions Mr Eustice, @BorisJohnson & the 186 Coastal MP’s whose duty it is to represent their constituencies.
“We have done 4yrs already, any delay will cripple the industry we are just about keeping our heads above water, we are watching
“2 3 years extension will be a massive betrayal to Coastal Communities, don’t they matter?”
Fury erupted after Mr Eustice hinted at further delays to striking a fishing deal, telling Sky News: “On fisheries we’ve always been open to doing a sensible approach, looking potentially at agreements that might span a couple, three years for instance.
“The issue will become what are the sharing arrangements, how much mutual access do we allow in one another’s waters and that’s obviously a discussion that will happen annually, but there may also be a partnership agreement that sets out the ground rules as to how we will work on that.
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“We’re going to be sensible in how we approach this but making sure that we have control of our own waters again and controlled access to our waters has always been a red line for us in these negotiations.”
The prospect of securing a longer-term deal with the Brussels bloc on sharing the fish catch is important for getting a compromise.
The UK left the EU in January but the sides are trying to clinch a deal that would govern nearly 1 trillion dollars in annual trade before transitional arrangements end on December 31.
But the talks have snagged over state aid rules and fisheries, a sector laden with symbolism for Brexit supporters in Britain.
Britain left the EU last January and is locked in negotiations on a new trade deal from 2021, as well as on implementing the divorce, as set out in the Withdrawal Agreement, especially on the sensitive Irish border.
The nation has repeatedly stated that, following Brexit and as a newly independent coastal state, it wants to be in control of its waters and fish.
European fishing vessels fish six times as much in UK waters as British vessels do in EU waters, which means the UK has leverage in the talks.