A leading fisheries chief has predicted a £8bn boost to the British economy if Boris Johnson takes back control of British waters in the Brexit trade talks. There are signs that the EU is ramping up pressure on Boris Johnson to back down on his fishing red lines in the deadlocked talks. However, UK fisherman Chris Attenborough explained that a Brexit was a perfect opportunity to boost the UK fishing economy and offer more employment.
Mr Attenborough, who leads the Whitstable Fisherman’s Association, told Al Jazeera that the UK needed to fix its “broken fishing industry”.
He said: “We have worked out that we could potentially have an industry worth around £8bn, whereas at the moment it is sitting at £1bn.
“That’s an awful lot more employment, and more money for little towns around the coast. That is what it’s all about.”
This comes as time is running out for the EU and the UK to agree to any sort of framework for a Brexit trade deal before the end of the year.
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So far British negotiators have rebuffed the EU pressure on access to its waters and fishing.
The chief negotiator David Frost has repeatedly insisted that Brussels must accept the UK will take back full control of its waters as an independent coastal state on January 1.
At a recent meeting of senior EU diplomats last week, the French representative lashed out at colleagues from Lithuania and Hungary after they claimed hardline fishing demands must not stand in the way of a deal.
French fishermen have vowed to retaliate against the UK red lines by blocking French ports and stopping British ferries in French waters.
Mr Vicquelin added: “The British export some 70 percent of their fish to the EU.
“If we get to December 31st and they throw us out of their waters, then we will block our ports and stop the ferries. No British boats or fish will reach French soil.”
Earlier this week, an Irish industry group warned that a no deal Brexit could result in the loss of up to 5,000 jobs in the fisheries sector
Irish industry experts also fear “chaos at sea,” since EU vessels may move into waters off the Irish coast following Brexit.