Boris Johnson's EU Trade Deal costing fishing industry £1 million a day

January 15, 2021 5:00 PM
By Alistair Carmichael MP
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

For years, this Government have promised our fishing industry a sea of opportunity, but, today, our boats are tied up in harbour, their propellers fouled with red tape manufactured in Whitehall.

Our boats are tied up in harbour, their propellers fouled with red tape manufactured in Whitehall.

Fishing trawler at workBoats that are able to go to sea are landing their catches in Denmark-an expensive round trip of at least 72 hours, which takes work away from processors and other shoreside businesses in this country.

Our Fisheries Minister describes promises made by Ministers as "dreams" and apparently did not think it was worth reading the agreement as soon as it was made, even though every second counted.

How on earth was it allowed to come to this? The EU trade agreement allows a grace period on customs checks for EU businesses.

So yesterday, in an Urgent Question to the Fisheries Minister, I asked:

"Why was there no grace period allowed for our exporters, and will the Government engage with the EU as a matter of urgency to make good that most fundamental of errors?

Earlier this week, the Prime Minister told the Liaison Committee that compensation is being considered for our fishing industry.

Who will be compensated, for what, and by how much? When will our scheme be published and what steps will be taken to help processors, catchers and traders in the meantime?"

Can the Secretary of State explain how the literally hundreds of producer organisation to producer organisation swaps done every year will be done on a Government-to-Government basis?

Finally, what will happen at the end of a five-and-a-half year transition period? A transition normally takes us from point A to point B.

This transition takes us from point A to point A with a new negotiation. Is zonal attachment still the Government's policy on quota shares?"

I offered to convene a virtual roundtable of all the affected sectors.

This is a shambles of the Government's own making; there is no one else to blame now.

The Minister must start listening to the fishing industry. That's why I offered to convene a virtual roundtable of all the affected sectors.

The time for complacency has passed.