French fishermen have warned that the EU fishing industry will be “wiped out” if Britain bans EU vessels from its waters in the case of a no deal Brexit. French President Emmanuel Macron faces demands from his country’s fishing industry to strike a deal, amid fears of an economic “catastrophe”. Fishing rights remain one of the main sticking points as Brexit talks go to the wire this weekend.
Brussels wants to keep its access to UK fishing grounds largely unchanged, while the UK Government wants to ensure British boats are prioritised after the transition period ends.
Boris Johnson admitted this week that there is a “strong possibility” the UK will fail to strike a post-Brexit trade deal with the EU.
Fishermen in France fear they may soon be barred from fishing in British waters if talks over a trade deal collapse this weekend.
Speaking to France24, one French fisherman Jeremy Margolle said: “It would be a catastrophe. A catastrophe for the whole coastline.”
His brother, Nicolas, echoed this point, warning that EU vessels will start to overwhelm French fishing waters in the case of a no deal, leading to an industry collapse.
He said: “If there’s a no deal, it is going to be complicated because European boats won’t have access to British waters anymore.
“So we are all going to find ourselves in the French strip, with all the Belgian, Dutch boats, the French of course.
“There’s never going to be enough room for everyone, and so the resources are going to be wiped out.”
However, Conservative Brexiteers have reacted furiously to the offer, urging Mr Johnson not to agree to the no-deal contingency plans being offered by the EU.
Tory MP David Jones – a senior member of the European Research Group of Tory Brexiteers – told Sky News: “They seem to want access to our fish without giving anything in return.
“That is not a deal, that is appropriation.”
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage accused the EU of a “huge insult” over its offer on fishing.