Fishing is essential for the negotiations with the UK
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Fishing is essential for the negotiations with the UK

The current negotiations will be of decisive importance for the future of the EU Member States and the United Kingdom (UK). In that context, fishing and the management of living marine resources are essential issues. The fisheries sector directly and indirectly represents hundreds of thousands of jobs, provides a livelihood for many coastal areas and coastal communities, contributes to safe and healthy food for millions of consumers, and promotes a strong environmental model.

The common fisheries policy (CFP) has for almost 50 years enabled, in all the Member States concerned, the establishment of optimal conditions for the development of fishing and the sustainable management of resources. Therefore, following the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union (EU), an agreement is necessary to guarantee the economic vitality of the fisheries sector, the preservation of species and the protection of biodiversity.

The existing historical and geographical links between the EU and the UK create a strong interdependence between the parties, both in terms of fishing and aquaculture activities, and in the sectors of processing of and trade in those products. From that point of view, a lack of agreement would cause immediate and significant damage for all stakeholders involved and ultimately for EU and UK citizens.

Therefore, I am in favour of a complete, balanced and long-term fisheries agreement, allowing the continuation under optimal conditions of access to waters, resources and markets of the parties concerned.

The greatest mutual benefit will be obtained by maintaining reciprocal access to water and resources, by defining common, coherent and stable principles and rules, enabling open access of fishing and aquaculture products to markets without causing economic or social tensions through unbalanced competition.

The maintenance of a stable and constant distribution of fishing rights is necessary and long-term management of resources are important based on compliance with CFP principles such as maximum sustainable yield and the technical measures which have so far contributed to the improvement of the state of fish stocks for the benefit of the fleets of both EU Member States and the UK.

We need adequate consultation mechanisms, a common scientific approach and guarantees that the UK will continue to contribute to data collection and the scientific assessment of stocks. Both parties should continue their active and loyal cooperation in matters of fishing control and the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

The provisions of any fisheries agreement should be supported by dispute settlement mechanisms as part of a general management of the governance of the future relationship between the EU and the UK.