Before the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) of 1970. before the UK was in the EU, there was the London Fisheries Convention of 1964. This allows access to the 6-12 mile zone of a coastal state if another state’s fishing fleet has traditionally fished there.
In the UK, vessels from France, Ireland, Germany, Netherlands and Belgium have this access. Article 15 of the London Fisheries Convention states “…any Contracting Party may denounce the Convention by giving two years’ notice in writing…”. The UK Government has announced its intention to quit this agreement.
Note: this is not the CFP – it pre dates the EU.
When The UK Leaves the EU and the CFP, as a coastal nation it will still be bound by The United Nation Convention on the law of the Sea (UNCLOS). This means that the UK will still have responsibilities on how fish stocks are managed and reaching agreements with other nations on how this is done. It also means that the fishing rights of other nations will require to be taken into account.
Leaving the EU and with it the CFP does not mean the UK Fishing Industry can do what it likes. The UNCLOS agreement is international. The UK Fishing Industry will no longer be bound by the CFP but it will require to adhere to UNCLOS.
Within their Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ ) of 200 nautical miles, coastal states have –
- the right to exploit, develop, manage and conserve all resources e.g. fish, oil, gas etc.
- the responsibilities and obligations to prevent and limit pollution and to facilitate marine scientific research.
- jurisdiction for the protection and preservation of the marine environment.
As part of the negotiations The UK will be required to “minimize economic dislocation in States whose nationals have habitually fished in the zone” when giving access to the Exclusive Economic Zone. [Article 62(3)] .
Taking back control of our fishing grounds has considerable strings attached to it which the Scottish Fishing Industry may find itself disastrously entangled in as they are used as pawns in a Brexit deal by UK Government representatives with little to no negotiating experience.
Reporter: Fiona Grahame