It is still unclear whether Dutch fishermen will be able to enter British waters next year. British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab called Fisheries across the street on Sunday Sky news still “the biggest point of contention” in the Brexit negotiations. These negotiations are now in injury time; The European Union and the United Kingdom have until January 1st to reach an agreement.
Fishing has been one of the biggest bottlenecks since the first day of negotiations. Britain wants to be seen as a sovereign nation after January 1st, which, according to the British, requires more control over its own waters and which fishing boats they allow and which not. European fishermen, including many in the Netherlands, rely on these waters to fill their nets. The EU therefore wants European fishermen to continue catching as much fish as possible in British waters. This collides with the negotiations.
“It is a question of principle: If we leave the EU for good, we will be an independent coastal state and as such a country we must be able to manage our own waters. The question now is: can the EU accept this question of principle?” said the British Minister.
Raab’s statements follow a compromise proposal from Brussels. In this proposal, the EU would catch 15 to 18 percent fewer fish from UK waters from January 1st. This proposal was quickly rejected by the British. “That doesn’t sound right?” Asked Raab aloud Sky news.
It is important for Dutch fishermen that a trade agreement is reached between the UK and the EU. Last year Dutch fishermen fished around 100 million euros in fish from British waters. Around ten thousand people work directly or indirectly in the Dutch fisheries.