UKIP Fisheries Spokesman, Mike Hookem MEP, has today called on Theresa May and David Davis to scrap a little-known, Pre-EU fishing agreement which offers EU vessels a “back door” to continue fishing in UK waters post-Brexit; saying, “This convention is the ‘daddy’ of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy and must be revoked if we are to stand any chance of reclaiming the UK’s waters.”
The 1964 London Fisheries Convention - which predates by eight years the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) - was a Pre-EU agreement made between twelve European countries that gave flag vessels of each signatory nation the right to fish within the UK’s six to twelve mile territorial limit.
However, under the terms of the convention, the UK can revoke this agreement by giving two years notice.
Describing the reclamation of the fishing industry as the “first serious test of Theresa May's resolve on Brexit”, Mr Hookem said, “if this Government is serious about making a clean break from the EU and reclaiming our fishing grounds, the London Fishing Convention must be revoked.”
“Should the Convention be left in place, it will act as a ‘backdoor’ for EU vessels to continue fishing in British waters which currently costs this country £700 million a year on lost catch values alone.
“By not addressing this issue, it would indicate to me that the Government has no intention of returning UK waters to British control and could instead be planning to ‘sell-out’ British fishermen and continue with the disastrous Common Fisheries Policy.”
“From speaking to fishermen up and down the country, their biggest fear now is that the government will use the industry as a bargaining chip for concessions in other areas of Brexit.
“Therefore, I will be seeking assurances from David Davis that this is not the case and that the UK will fully withdraw from the CFP and return to administering its own 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
“According to a recent report, the fishing industry has the potential to provide a £6.3bn boost to the UK economy following Brexit, which is more than the steel industry in this country is currently worth each year.
“I would hate to see the fishing industry sold down the river both on entry and exit from the EU! But if the Common Fisheries Policy is adopted into British Law as part of the Theresa May’s Great Repeal Bill, that is exactly what will happen.”