A no-deal Brexit is looking increasingly likely amid the trade talks standoff, and EU fishermen are preparing for the worse as they will be forced to fish in congested fishing grounds.
Brussels keep demanding access to British fishing grounds or access to the European market will be denied.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned the EU that the UK are prepared to walk away from the trade talks as Brussels keep insisting on state aid demands.
The UK’s chief negotiator David Frost said in August, “The EU is still insisting not only that we must accept continuity with EU state aid and fisheries policy, but also that this must be agreed before any further substantive work can be done in any other area of the negotiation, including on legal texts.
“This makes it unnecessarily difficult to make progress.”
Fears are growing for EU fishermen as they will be forced out of British waters and will have to fish in heavily congested waters.
Jan Buisseret, commercial manager at Ostend auction in Belgium warned, “It will mean that the whole fleet of Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Ireland will fish in the coast close to Europe.
“But there is no room for everyone. If we have rights to fish in British areas, the Brits will have the rights to sell their products here in Europe because they do not have fleets, they do not have the same consumption of fish as we have.”
Bruno Decordiar who spends 60% of his time fishing in British waters told Euronews, “We are often at English ports and when we speak with British fishermen they tell us that we take all their fish.
“If they close the waters, I’m sure we’ll lose half of our income.”
Stephane Pinto, fisherman and vice-president of the fisheries committee previously warned, “If tomorrow there is no deal Brexit, meaning a hard Brexit, all the flotillas of Europe, the Belgians, the Dutch, and the French will all be in the same fishing zone.
“And in terms of cohabitation that would be difficult. I think there would be a naval battle.”
Germany warned Boris Johnson to guarantee access for European fishermen in British waters or the EU will block any free-trade agreement.
Michael Roth the European Affairs Minister told the European Parliament, “We do understand that the UK wants certain advantages for its own fishermen, for its own fisheries industry.
“But common resources need to be managed together in a sustainable way, which means we cannot accept that the UK would exclude EU fisheries efforts from its territorial waters all together.”
So if there no pact to manage “common resources” on a comprehensive fisheries pact then there will be no future relationship.
Roth added, “We fear we might be running out of time to some extent.
“No progress has been made for quite some time and we observe that the UK is now moving away from what we had agreed on a long time ago as the basis for the negotiations.
“Now that doesn’t mean the EU is changing its stance.”