U.K. to pull out of fish­ing deal that lets oth­ers in its waters

The Hamilton Spectator - - BUSINESS - DAN­ICA KIRKA

Bri­tain is pulling out of an agree­ment that per­mits fish­er­men from five other coun­tries to op­er­ate in U.K. waters, the first step in re­assert­ing con­trol over its fish­ing in­dus­try as it pre­pares to leave the Euro­pean Union.

The govern­ment an­nounced Sun­day it will trig­ger the two-year process of leav­ing the Lon­don Fish­eries Con­ven­tion, which al­lows ves­sels from France, Bel­gium, Germany, Ireland and the Nether­lands to fish be­tween six and 12 nau­ti­cal miles off the U.K. coast­line.

Bri­tain signed the con­ven­tion be­fore it joined the EU, and would be bound by its terms af­ter leav­ing the bloc un­less it starts to with­draw from the treaty now. EU reg­u­la­tions gov­ern fish­ing in the zone be­tween 12 nau­ti­cal miles and 200 nau­ti­cal miles from shore, giv­ing other mem­ber states the right to fish in U.K. ter­ri­to­rial waters as long as they com­ply with the bloc’s rules.

“This is a his­toric first step to­ward build­ing a new do­mes­tic fish­ing pol­icy as we leave the Euro­pean Union — one which leads to a more com­pet­i­tive, profitable and sus­tain­able in­dus­try for the whole of the U.K.,” En­vi­ron­ment Sec­re­tary Michael Gove said.

Bri­tain had about 6,000 fish­ing boats in 2015, which landed 708,000 tons of fish worth about $1 bil­lion US, ac­cord­ing to the govern­ment. Ves­sels from other con­ven­tion mem­bers caught a frac­tion of that, about 10,000 tons.

Ir­ish fish­er­men called the de­ci­sion to pull out of the Lon­don Con­ven­tion an ag­gres­sive move, al­though they ex­pected it.

“The ac­cess for us is huge, but the ac­cess be­tween six and 12 is not our great­est pri­or­ity,” said Sean O’Donoghue, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Killy­begs Fish­er­men’s Or­ga­ni­za­tion.

FRANK AUGSTEIN, THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Bri­tain’s Michael Gove has trig­gered a two-year foreign with­drawal process.

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