Brexit POLL: Should UK bring forward 2026 talks and ban EU ships from British waters?

Boris Johnson ‘sacrificed fishing industry’ says June Mummery

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Since the Brexit transition period ended on December 31, fishermen have not had the option to swap and trade quota with boats across the Channel. This is because the UK-EU trade deal forbids it.

Now, Express.co.uk is asking: “Should the UK bring forward the 2026 negotiations and completely ban EU ships from British waters?”

EU boats will continue to fish in UK waters for some years to come but UK fishing boats will get a greater share of the fish caught in British waters.

The shift in the share will be phased in between 2021 and 2026, with most of the quota transferred in 2021, according to the BBC.

By 2026, the UK has the right to completely exclude EU boats.

But the bloc could impose harsh taxes on exports of British fish to the EU or even deny UK boats access to EU waters.

Under the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy, fishermen were free to do deals with fishing companies on the continent to bring in extra quota for fish near where their ships operated.

This meant fishermen did not have to travel so far afield and burn so much fuel to find their catch.

The arrangement also meant there was a low rate of discarding, a controversial issue often blamed on EU rules.

Under the deal signed by Mr Johnson and the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, it states a mechanism for international quota trading could be eventually set up.

Fishermen across the UK are still allowed to trade and swap quota with each other, under the post-Brexit fishing rules.

Fishing was one of the main sticking points during negotiations with the bloc last year.

Regaining control over British waters was a key part of the Leave campaign during the 2016 referendum.

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Earlier this month, France challenged the EU to devise new mechanisms to ensure fishermen from the bloc are not cut off from UK waters once the current deal expires.

Communist Senator Eric Bocquet warned fishing communities in his Hauts-de-France region have already suffered because of Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union and insisted appropriate measures should be created to ensure access from 2026.

Addressing colleagues, the French Senator said: “The absence of realignment mechanisms risks leading in the years to come to British standards falling below European standards.

“On the one hand, the European Union will not have to resign itself to not strengthening the protection of Europeans and on the other hand, we will find ourselves in the situation of dumping we so feared.

“On fishing, we risk assisting in 2026 tp a British takeover of its fish-rich waters and the question arises – can the European Union guarantee the protection of European fishermen when London could renegotiate annually with surely ambition to increase the drop-out rate of European prices?”

After securing a trade deal with the EU in December, the Prime Minister has handed over £23m to the fishing industry as compensation for the “eye-watering” red tape.

Mr Johnson was warned he could face an electoral backlash in fishing communities if trust was not restored with fishermen over the new deal.

The former Brexit Party MEP Ben Habib said the Prime Minister must rectify issues around fishing within the deal.

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