Dale Rodmell, Assistant Chief Executive of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations was the speaker at European Movement Eastbourne's March dinner held at the Hydro Hotel and attended by over 55 members.
His talk started with a look back to 1973 and the terms of the UK’s entry into, what was then, the EEC. The UK’s entry was subject to accepting the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). He said that the industry’s experience of the CFP had not been a happy one; the terms of the policy were exploitative and had cost the industry dearly, it struggled to manage fisheries across a huge area of 40 degrees of latitude, the decision-making process was cumbersome, and it was hampered by over centralisation.
For Fisheries, taking back control is an inevitable consequence of leaving the EU and thereby also leaving the CFP. The UK will have its own seat at the negotiating table, equal to the EU and other coastal states. In preparation, the Fisheries Bill is currently going through Parliament and will include; powers to set quotas and control access to UK waters, it will amend laws brought over from the CFP under the Withdrawal Act and it will provide some policies to address ‘discard’ problems.
One of the more challenging consequences of Brexit are the changes in trading relationship as around 80% of fish is exported and around 70% of that total, worth about £1 billion, goes to the EU. Outside of any trade agreement there will be tariffs ranging from zero to 20% but he said that since the Referendum the devaluation of sterling has played well for exports and as the key threats are short term, he expected trade issues to iron themselves out long term. In conclusion, he felt that, despite these risks the Referendum had given the opportunity to put the fishing industry on track to a much better future as an independent coastal state.
The speaker at our next dinner on 10 April 2019 will be Robert Chase talking about some historic and diplomatic arguments for Brexit. If you would like to come to our April event or just learn more about the Eastbourne European Movement, then please call our Chair, Paula Welch on 07510 851722 or visit www.europeanmovementeastbourne.uk