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UK minister warns EU: Britain will decide about access to fishing waters and on what terms!

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Published on 07 Mar 2020 / In News and Politics

British environment minister George Eustice said he was optimistic an agreement could be reached with the European Union over future fishing rights by July.

Eustice told a committee of members from the upper house of parliament that Britain, which wants a partnership agreement setting out the process for annual negotiations on fishing quotas, was “not asking for something extraordinary” as Norway already has a similar agreement with the EU.

He also said that even if a broader multi-year agreement was reached, annual negotiations on total catch were “inevitable” because of the science of fish movements. There will be some reduction in access for EU fisherman to UK waters, he added.

British firms exporting fish to the EU will face "some friction" after the post-Brexit transition period ends, the environment secretary has said.

But he insisted the UK had a "strong hand" over access to its fishing waters in a deal with the EU.

The issue could be an early flashpoint in trade talks, which has started this week.

The UK wants future access to its fishing waters for EU vessels to be negotiated on a yearly basis, under an agreement similar to the bloc's existing deal with Norway.

But the EU wants to "uphold" existing access to British waters for vessels from member states, to avoid "economic dislocation" for their fishermen.

Mr Eustice insisted EU vessels would see some reduction in access to British waters, but it was "too early to say what access we would grant".

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