Little Britain Leaving the EU
Anti-europeans want the UK to leave. A friend who sees themselves as one of their number gives many reasons for his support for exit.
Many of these reasons hinge around the UK’s bizzaire way of implementing EU rules. The EU’s regulation of bin collections and waste dumps are good examples. That the EU’s rules did not touch on the issues that created the sense of frustration is just one more part of the rich tapestry of UK debate on the EU.
I realise that the reasons held by many are not xneophiba. They run much deeper. And, the very weak UK pro-European movement has made the latent distrust become mainstream in Britain.
Fisheries – The Tide Against Europe
I have been active on fisheries and europe for a long time. In fact, Sir Teddy Taylor, the hard working and devoted anti-EU membership MP, inspired my interest in fisheries policy many years ago.
Three Basic Questions to Ask Before Jumping
If the UK leaves the EU, the UK’s fishing fleet is going to be hit badly.
Where Are the UK’s own waters?
The UK has an Exclusive Fisheries Zone. You can see it here.
Marine boundaries UK
It is not very big and very soon we bump into other EU and non-EU countries waters.
We are not Iceland, Greenland, New Zealand or Australia. They have the benefit of few neighbours to start claiming their sea (and fish) is theirs.
The UK tried to do that with Iceland in the 1970s and the UK lost.
Will the UK need to have a bilateral agreement with the EU to access EU waters?
The UK will need to start negotiating with tits former EU partners and Norway, Iceland and Greenland to access their waters. The UK won’t have the influence it does at the moment – and it is considerable- and they will be one party amongst many and all with few fish to trade access other country’s waters and fish.
There are some historic fishing rights that seem to pre-date the birth of Europe that would still allow Belgiums and the Irish to still access UK waters.
If Scotland stays in the EU and the rest of the UK leaves, will Scotland keep their territorial waters?
Scotland manages its own waters today.
Scotland is, in effect, responsible for 63% of the UK’s sea area and the biggest share of its fisheries.
If England leaves and Scotland does not, the UK won’t have even less sea or fish to take.
Leaving to Save the Fish?
Now, if the UK wanted to be very conservation minded, it could copy the Danes or Swedes, who have done very good things even within the EU and current CFP.
They could copy Norway. There a government got rid of subsidies, banned discards and introduced ITQs , and all on the same day. A social democratic government did it.
There is no chance of the UK doing that in or out of the EU.
And, as the Danes have shown, you can do all that even with the EU – they introduced ITQs, basically eliminated subsidies, and introduced a huge discards ban trial.
What Could They Do Outside the EU?
There are things that the UK could do outside the EU.
Ban the Spanish Fishermen
They could restrict ownership of the UK Quota. It seems around 25% of the quota is owned by Dutch, Icelandics and Spanish men owning UK companies. But, the idea of banning ownership of companies based on the nationality of the owner is a very dangerous and silly idea. Will will be ban Rupert Murdoch operating press and TV stations because he is an American?
And, before we did that, we should find out who actually owns the UK quota. The British government have been keeping the ownership very secretive for a long time. It seems that they have no idea who really owns a significant parts of the UK Quota.
There is always the small threat that the Spanish would ban British people owning houses in Spain or finding their medical insurance invalid – as it would be outside the EU E 1 11 scheme.
Grow the Fish Stocks
They could grow the fish stocks. But, the UK’s stocks are historically low and they share most of the key stocks with European neighbors. And, the UK has little track record of taking decisive action – rather than catch up – to conserve their own stocks.
What No Plan A or B
Of course, the anti-Europeans may just be playing chicken. That they will loose does not seem to matter. They have no alternative vision to the UK outside the EU. They are not Norwegians or the Swiss.
They want to take a huge leap in the dark and see where things land up. Exciting for some, madness for others. It can be a lonely place cast adrift alone in the high seas.