Karmenu Vella, the European Union’s Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Commissioner said on Friday the bloc was hoping to maintain reciprocal access to UK fishing waters after Brexit but was also preparing for the alternatives.
Vella told a news conference: “In case of a no-deal Brexit, EU fishing vessels would have to leave UK waters and UK vessels would have to leave EU waters. This would have significant negative economic consequences on the part of the EU fleet, which depends on access to UK waters.”
Vella said the bloc’s executive, the European Commission, would authorise state aid by EU states to their companies cut off from UK waters.
Commissioner Vella presented contingency measures to mitigate the impact on fisheries in case of a “no-deal” Brexit.
The acts, tabled by the European Commission in January, have been agreed by Member States and the European Parliament at the end of March, in record time.
Underscoring that the EU stands shoulder to shoulder with its fishermen, the Commissioner explained that the Commission has taken measures to mitigate the impact on fisheries in case of a “no-deal” Brexit.
The first preparedness measure amends the Regulation on the Sustainable Management of the External Fleets, with the aim of creating the appropriate legal framework for continued reciprocal fishing access by EU and UK vessels to each other’s waters during 2019, provided the UK grants such access for EU vessels.
The second measure allows fishermen and operators from EU Members States to receive compensation for the temporary cessation of fishing activities, due to Brexit, under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund. This will help to off-set some of the impacts of a sudden closure of UK waters to EU fishing vessels.