You’re reading Reaction. To get Iain Martin’s weekly newsletter, columnists including Tim Marshall, Maggie Pagano and Adam Boulton, full access to the site and invitations to member-exclusive events, become a member HERE.
Twelve months of post-Brexit bickering has left the French and the UK feeling ill-disposed towards each other. But after months of negotiations, Brussels and London have finally agreed on post-Brexit quotas for fishing.
Victoria Prentis, the fisheries minister, says the agreement “ensures a strong balance that will benefit both our fishing industry and the protection of our marine environment”. Ultimately, the agreement avoids catch limits based on hauls in shared waters.
However, the idea that this deal “benefits” Britain leaves much to be desired.
Breaking free from the Common Fisheries Policy was framed as an opportunity for Britain to “take back control” of its waters. Although, the agreement – which covers until the end of 2022 – states that France can fish up to 30,000 tonnes of demersal and deep-water stocks, and 17,000 tonnes of herring in the UK’s waters.
That is not the only red herring. ClientEarth, the environmental law charity, has branded the agreement as “unsustainable”, and one which prioritises “short-term commercial interests over long-term sustainability” of depleting stocks.
Sign up for our free weekly newsletter
Join our ‘Best Of’ newsletter and we’ll send you a weekly email with highlights of what you’ve missed and details of our upcoming live events.
It must also be noted that while there are new quotas in place, the tide over licensing for French fisherman continues to rage, with President Emmanuel Macron calling on the EU to begin litigation.