Both in the UK and the EU27, behind every fisherman and every fleet, there are vibrant coastal communities that have depended on the fisheries industry for centuries. Our world revolves around our fleets. Fisheries and fishermen are core to our cultures, our folklore and our shared identities.
If the UK was to ban access to its EEZ to foreign fleets, it would impact more than just fleets and fishermen. The effects of such a measure will be felt throughout the value chain. For every boat at sea, there are can fillers, fish curers, fish cutters, fish broilers and many others waiting onshore, including our families. Many in our communities have been working in fish processing or retailing for generations, and entire families have built their lives around the fishing industry for generations now. No fish would reach the plate of the European consumer if it was not for their daily hard work. We need a post-Brexit agreement that is fair not only to the fleets but also allows for fishing communities to maintain and create sustainable employment.
By threatening the economic future of our fishing fleets, a ban on access to its EEZ by the UK will rob those communities of their economic, cultural and social foundation. We therefore call upon the UK and the EU to strive for a post-Brexit deal rooted in reciprocity and sustainable management of fish resources.
Should an agreement guaranteeing reciprocal access to fishing grounds not be found, the Member States fishing in UK waters would lose approximately 6,000 full time job equivalents in the entire seafood sector, destroying many communities dependent on fishing across Europe.