Fishing for Leave:
A vision of Post-Brexit fishing policy for the UK:
Jim Portus has been CEO of SWFPO Ltd since 1989. During his 27 years at the helm, Jim has witnessed the decimation of the British fishing fleet as the regulations of the Common Fisheries Policy impacted upon fishing and trade. Hundreds of fishing boats have been scrapped and thousands of fishermen have lost their jobs. The Organisation Jim represents made it clear a very long time ago that they would campaign vigorously for the end of the Common Fisheries Policy and its ills. Boats from Brixham have attended all the Thames Flotillas over the decades, including most recently on 15th June when the Emilia Jayne BM10 and the Carhelmar BM23 joined boats from all over Britain to support the “Fishing for Leave” campaign in favour of Brexit.
Now that Brexit has been won and the UK will leave the European Union, the time is right to set out a policy statement and a vision for how the UK’s fishing industry should be managed in the Post-Brexit years.
To manage, through the restoration of National Control
all those fisheries falling within the UK Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in an effective, sustainable, equitable and transparent manner, in cooperation with stakeholders in order to maximise the socio-economic and seafood production benefits for the nation.
The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) – Equal Access to a common Resource.
Having voted to leave the European Union, the real CFP of “equal access to a common resource without discrimination” will be ended. The UK after Brexit will be an independent, sovereign nation whose Acts of Parliament no longer can be overturned by the European Court of Justice.
United Nations Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)
UNCLOS was opened for signature on 10 December 1982.
It came into force on 16th November 1994. The UK signed it on 27th June 1996.
What UNCLOS means:
• UNCLOS recognised three marine zones and established the rights that coastal states have relative to these zones.
1. The twelve mile or territorial seas limit;
2. The two hundred mile limit ( the Exclusive Economic Zone--EEZ); and
3. The High Seas. (That area falling outwith the 200miles limit)
A coastal state has:
* Full sovereignty over all that is found within the 12mile territorial seas limit.
* Sovereign rights over the exploitation of all natural resources (including fish stocks) found within its EEZ.
* The coastal state has jurisdiction rights over its own vessels on the High Seas.
NOTE Generally a state's EEZ extends 200 nautical miles (370.4 kilometers) from the base lines of its territorial seas or to the median line where resulting points would be closer to another country.
UNCLOS effectively gives the UK the right under international law to formally declare its own EEZ and manage its own fisheries.
Managing an Exclusive Economic Zone
Article 61 UNCLOS Conservation of the living resources
1. The coastal State shall determine the allowable catch of the living resources in its exclusive economic zone.
2. The coastal State, taking into account the best scientific evidence available to it, shall ensure through proper conservation and management measures that the maintenance of the living resources in the exclusive economic zone is not endangered by over-exploitation.
3. Such measures shall also be designed to maintain or restore populations of harvested species at levels that can produce the economic factors, including the economic needs of coastal fishing communities.
Article 62.2 Utilization of the living resources
The coastal State shall determine its capacity to harvest the living resources of the EEZ. Where the coastal State does not have the capacity to harvest the entire allowable catch, it shall, through agreements or other arrangements…give other States access to the surplus of the allowable catch.
The benefits brought by UNCLOS are clearly evident. Already many signatory coastal States have economic jurisdiction up to the 200-mile limit or median line. As a result, most of the world's fisheries now fall under national jurisdiction. There is no reason why the UK could not previously do likewise, except that the EU Common Fisheries Policy prevented it.
The UK can and should legally declare its own EEZ and manage the fisheries under international law as defined by UNCLOS.
CEO SWFPO Ltd
10 July 2016