"Fisheries must not be an adjustment variable or a political symbol in the Brexit equation. No fisheries agreement means no post-Brexit agreement. The European Parliament has shown that it wants the fisheries sector to function as closely as possible to the current situation. Otherwise, we will veto the post-Brexit Treaty", said François-Xavier Bellamy MEP, author of the Parliament’s Fisheries Committee's Opinion on the future relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom which will be voted on this afternoon.
"It will not be possible to conclude a comprehensive agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom if it does not include a comprehensive, balanced and long-term fisheries agreement, allowing continued access to waters and resources and maintaining stringent common rules for the protection of species", explained Bellamy.
Nearly 40% of the fish caught in Europe are captured in UK waters and conversely, 70% of UK fisheries products are exported to the European market.
"Without an agreement, many direct and indirect jobs will be destroyed and the social fabric of the coastal regions whose soul is in fishing and seafaring will be deeply damaged. This value chain is already being severely affected by the current Coronavirus crisis and its consequences. It is in the interests of both parties to agree on a text that comes as close to the current situation as possible", he said.
Bellamy also warned against a disaster for biodiversity in case an agreement isn’t found. "We should not go back to a race for volume that would profoundly destabilise species and ecosystems that until now we have managed to preserve with the British", said Bellamy.
"Beyond our political colours, we are sending a clear signal to the fishing, aquaculture and fish trade sectors: in this period of uncertainty, we are more than ever at their side", he concluded.
Note to editors
The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 187 Members from all EU Member States