The UK demanded that fishing opportunities be divided using a scientific method based on data that reflects the number of fish in UK waters. The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, announced that Brussels could agree with the UK’s demands on fishing.
This is a key request from the UK side during the ongoing post-Brexit trade negotiations.
The scientific method is known as zonal attachment and will benefit UK fisherman as more fish have reportedly moved to British waters due to climate change since the policy was set up in the 1970s and 1980s.
Previously, Brussels demanded that EU boats should have the same access to UK waters.
However, Mr Barnier admitted that the EU’s position on the matter was “clearly not” balanced.
He announced that Brussels is willing to be “creative” in order to move negotiations along.
According to a transcript of a meeting held on June 23 but published on Monday, Mr Barnier said: “I am waiting with much patience for a reply from the British side.
“If there is no response, there will be no agreement on fisheries and no agreement on trade.”
Mr Barnier also suggested that yearly talks on fishing opportunities could be possible.
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During the meeting, Mr Barnier claimed he offered UK negotiators a compromise that “would take account, of course, of the zonal attachment that the UK wants”.
He added: “We must take account of that, but of other parameters as well: historic fishing rights, sometimes dating back many centuries; the economic interests of coastal fishing communities in the EU and the UK; and international rules from the UN on biodiversity.”
The intensified negotiations in Brussels ended a day early.
Mr Barnier said there were “serious divergences” between the two sides.
Negotiations continued on Monday in London.
The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) was introduced to give fishing fleets in Europe equal access to EU waters in order to achieve fair market competition.
The policy also ensured that the fishing industry acts sustainably.
Questions of fairness have surrounded the CFP.
This is because half of the EU waters are made up of UK waters.
However, the UK only receives a 25 percent share of fish to catch.