All very well, yet most of what Brit boats catch is exported, while most of what we eat is imported.Telegraph
UK Tells EU it will take 'any measures necessary' to protect fishing waters
UK publishes draft fisheries agreement which had formed basis of tough trade talks with Brussels last week
By James Crisp, Brussels Correspondent 19 May 2020
"British Brexit negotiators have told the European Union that the UK will take any measures necessary within the limits of international law to protect its fishing waters.
On Tuesday, the UK published a draft fisheries agreement which had formed the basis of tough trade talks with Brussels last week.
"Each party may take such measures in conformity with international law as may be necessary to ensure compliance with the provisions of this Agreement by vessels of the other party," the draft agreement reads.
Michael Gove, speaking in the House of Commons, said on Tuesday: "Access to our waters will be on our terms, and the beneficiaries of that will be our fishermen in Cornwall and elsewhere."
In the draft agreement, Britain demands that EU boats apply for a licence to fish in UK waters and that the bloc provides the UK with a list of all vessels eligible to enter British fisheries.
These last two requirements represent a step-change from the status quo, in which EU boats have an automatic right to fish in UK waters.
In February, Britain bolstered the Royal Navy Fishery Protection Squadron by two ships on top of its four River-class offshore patrol vessels and a helicopter.
The British document, based on Norway's fishing agreement with the EU, calls for annual negotiations on fishing opportunities, based on zonal attachment and access to each other's waters. The draft agreement can be suspended on three months notice or cancelled entirely with two years written notice if either side fails to comply with it.
Zonal attachment is a different way of dividing the shares of the allowed catch and is based on where fish are now, rather than the historic catch patterns which form the basis of the EU's Common Fisheries Policy.
Because of climate change, more fish are now in UK waters than was the case when the Common Fisheries Policy was agreed. The EU has demanded continued access to UK waters "under existing conditions" as a condition of the UK-EU free trade agreement.
Michel Barnier, the EU's chief negotiator, has hinted that a compromise could be found but ruled out annual negotiations and zonal attachment.
The last round of negotiations ended in mutual recrimination, with Mr Barnier and David Frost, the UK's chief negotiator, both urging the other to drop their red lines.
British negotiators also demanded that the EU consults with the UK before suspending or freezing out UK financial services from the EU market after Brexit.
The demand for "appropriate consultation" on equivalence decisions that allow non-EU countries access to the Single Market is sure to be rejected by Brussels.
Equivalence can be withdrawn at short notice, in some cases as little as 30 days, which industry figures say denies the sector the certainty it needs to invest.
As part of a draft free trade agreement it published on Tuesday, the UK called for the creation of a Financial Services Committee, which would meet every three months.
The committee would allow for "transparency and appropriate consultation in the process of adoption, suspension and withdrawal of equivalence decisions", the document said.
Brussels has shown a willingness to use equivalence as a political weapon. In July, the European Commission withdrew equivalence for Swiss stock exchanges in a bid to force Berne to renegotiate a treaty with the bloc.
The draft trade agreement exposed the deep divides between the UK and the EU over Brussels’ demand for level playing field guarantees on labour, state aid, tax and the environment.
The UK argues that the EU is asking for far more stringent "level playing field" guarantees than is normal in free trade agreement and that agreeing to them would restrict Britain's ability to diverge from EU rules after Brexit.
The EU says the stricter guarantees over fair competition are needed due to the proximity of the UK’s market and the goal of a zero-tariff, zero-quota free trade agreement. Both sides agree that the issue is a major stumbling block in the trade negotiations.
The EU has called for its state aid laws to continue to hold sway in Britain, with UK laws evolving to match the EU's over time. Such dynamic alignment would happen even though the UK would have no say in the writing of the laws.
It has also demanded that the UK does not fall below current environmental and labour standards.
The British assurances over fair competition are three short paragraphs, which recognise it "inappropriate" to encourage trade or investment by lowering standards.
David Henig, a trade expert and director of the European Centre for International Political Economy think tank, said the trade deal would never be acceptable to the EU and that the level playing field provisions were "flimsy".
He also said some of the British demands went far further than normal for EU trade deals with third countries, despite the UK's insistence to the contrary."
UK publishes draft fisheries agreement which had formed basis of tough trade talks with Brussels last weekwww.telegraph.co.uk
Leave the EU means UK shoots self in fishy foot in both directions: buying and selling.