Guaranteeing sustainability of EU and UK fisheries in the event of no-deal Brexit
- Simplification of procedure granting fishing authorisations, subject to the principle of reciprocity
- Access to EMFF compensation in the event of a closure of UK waters
Parliament adopted measures on fishing authorisations and access to compensation in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
In a vote on Tuesday, MEPs approved the Commission’s proposals to guarantee economic sustainability of EU and UK fishing communities in case of a disorderly withdrawal of the UK. The adopted measures would come into force under two possible scenarios depending on whether the UK grants reciprocity or not.
If the EU and the UK agree on full reciprocity of access to each other’s waters after the UK leaves the EU (without a deal), amendments to Regulation (EU) 2017/2403 regarding fishing authorisations for EU fishing vessels in UK waters and fishing operations of UK fishing vessels in EU waters foresee
- Introduction of a ‘light procedure’ to facilitate access of vessels - for EU vessels, this includes the possibility for Member States to submit to the Commission applications in bulk, for obtaining fishing authorisation from the UK; a similar simplified obligation is put in place for UK vessels requesting permission to fish in EU waters:
- Quota swapping within UK allocated quotas, as well as quota transfers or exchanges between Member States and the UK would continue to be allowed;
- Measures would apply from the date of the no-deal withdrawal until 31 December 2019;
- The territorial scope of the amended Regulation does not include Gibraltar.
Granting compensation to EU vessels if banned from UK waters
In the event that the UK decides not to allow access to EU vessels in its waters, amendments to Regulation (EU) 508/2014 on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) would allow for financial compensation in cases of temporary cessation of fishing activities caused by the closure of UK waters. Additionally, the support may be granted for a maximum duration of 9 months (instead of 6) per vessel during the current financing period (2014 to 2020).
Negotiations with the Council should allow for a swift agreement and the legislation is expected to be published before the date of the withdrawal.
These contingency measures adopted by Parliament aim to create an appropriate legal framework in order to guarantee the sustainability of EU fisheries. About 150.000 EU jobs depend on fisheries, mostly in coastal areas where employment opportunities are limited. Member States carry out fishing activities at a value of €585 million in the United Kingdom waters. The overall dependency of eight Member States (Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Spain, Sweden and The Netherlands) on UK waters averages 14% of their overall landings, ranging from 50% for the Belgium fleet to around 1% for Spain.