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No Supplicant Position

February 11th, 2017

Letter to The Times, published on 11th February 2017

Your extract (10th February)  from a  government paper about negotiating priorities, reveals what can only be described as a supplicant approach to our fishing position post Brexit,  which may also apply to other industries.

After leaving the EU,  Britain as a sovereign power and signatory of the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea 1994 (UNCLOS) will automatically take over sole responsibility for all commercial rights, including fishing access and control of stocks, in its own Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)  of the Continental Shelf (the North Sea and English Channel principally). In this matter, there is nothing whatever  to negotiate about.

There is the matter of historic fishing by foreign countries such as Spain (since 1995 in their case) but we are not suppplicants.  The Civil Service negotiators should understand this. While there may well be some horse–trading  over fish stock management, the conditions to be applied to the continuation of foreign fishing in its EEZ are for Britain to decide, just as the EU and Norway will continue to do in theirs.