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British Government trapped in Brexit Fisheries Nightmare - Hazzard

4 August, 2017 - by Chris Hazzard

Sinn Féin’s Chris Hazzard MP has said he isn’t surprised that Fisheries Minister Michael Gove has conceded that it won’t be possible to sustain the fishing industry without EU boats. 

Speaking to the Danish industry this week, Mr Gove confirmed that EU trawlers will still be able to fish in British waters after Brexit - despite promising to ‘take back control’ of the seas previously. 

South Down MP Chris Hazzard has described the announcement as “entirely predictable” adding that the Environment Secretary has clearly now “awoken to the nightmare of Brexit realities".

Mr Hazzard said:

“Pro-Brexit campaigners have consistently told us that leaving the EU and various Fisheries conventions would enable the British fishing industry to ‘take back control’ of the waters. However it has been clear for some time that this simply would not be sustainable. 

“In effect these decisions will make very little difference in that to sustain the fishing industry the British Government will immediately allow EU boats to catch fish in local waters even after Brexit. 

“There is no doubt that fishing communities across these islands will now be very concerned that the British Government appear to be talking out of both sides of their mouth when it comes to future fishing arrangements. On the one hand we have platitudes and promises aplenty at home from figures like Mr Gove; and yet he’s travelling around Europe assuring fishing interests that they will still be welcome in British waters. 

Mr Hazzard added:

“To some observers it will be quite odd that Mr Gove has at this early stage of Brexit negotiations declared his hand in relation to fisheries issues. For many of us however it has been clear from the outset that the British Government were never serious about ‘taking back control’ of fisheries issues, and instead are using fishing communities as a bartering chip in the wider Brexit negotiations.” 

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