Ireland 'privately worried' over EU fishing stance says expert
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After months of cross-Channel tensions over fishing rights, the UK faces yet another seaborne challenge from a European Union member state. Denmark, which joined the Brussels bloc alongside Britain in 1973, now alleges the UK’s proposal to ban bottom trawling in an area of the North Sea violates the fishing terms signed in Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal.
The UK Government put forward plans in February to impose a ban on bottom trawling in the North Sea’s Dogger Bank conservation zone.
Bottom trawling has been described as “destructive” as, although it often returns large batches of fish, it can also damage the biodiversity of the sea through its “indiscriminate” process.
But Denmark’s fisheries minister Rasmus Prehn, 48, has warned plans to introduce a ban in the area would go against the UK-EU Brexit deal.
In an interview with the Guardian, Mr Prehn said: “The Brexit agreement ensures full access to fish in UK waters until 2026.
“And therefore, of course, it is a very big problem for us if the British Government is going to change that.
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“We find that unacceptable and it’s a breach of our agreement.”
He added how Danish fishermen “are already in a very difficult situation due to Brexit so this would be even more difficult for them and we can’t really accept that”.
The Danes, who voted against the Maastricht Treaty back in 1992, had tried to impose itself as a thorn in the side of Brexit Britain’s attempts to take back control back in 2017 after it was reported 40 percent of Denmark’s entire fishing take came from UK territorial waters.
Despite Danish concerns, a spokesperson from the Britain’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: “The UK is a global leader in the fight to protect our seas.
“As an independent coastal state the UK can decide on the regulatory measures which apply to fishing in our waters, which includes taking measures to follow scientific advice and protect our marine environment.”
Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal ensured the number of EU boats entering the UK’s fishing waters would fall by 25 percent by 2026.
The move, which the Sun claims will see Britain fish just over 66 percent of UK waters, is estimated to deliver an additional £145million per year to the British fishing industry.
A ban on bottom trawling is also believed to be popular with the British public.
According to a YouGov poll in April, 69 percent of UK adults said they favoured a ban on bottom trawling.
Around 50,000 people signed a petition to Parliament calling on a ban on so-called supertrawlers.
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A majority of signatories came from constituencies in the heart of Britain’s coastal communities, including Hastings & Rye, the Isle of Wight and Totnes.
Environmentalists, including Dutch marine biologist Irene Kingma, have reportedly welcomed Brexit Britain’s move on bottom trawling.
According to the Guardian, she said: “The UK is proposing a brave and good deal on the Dogger Bank.
Ms Kingma added: “The UK is being very progressive on all environmental issues as long as it’s not interfering with their own fishing interest.”
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