Fishing body accuses Boris Johnson of 'bottling it' with Brexit deal

Boris Johnson (left) kisses a wild salmon as he is shown around Billingsgate Fish Market in London w

Boris Johnson (left) kisses a wild salmon as he is shown around Billingsgate Fish Market in London with porter Greg Essex. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA. - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Prime minister Boris Johnson has “bottled it” over fishing rights as his Brexit deal has secured “a fraction of what the UK has a right to under international law”, according to a leader representing fishermen.

Barrie Deas, chief executive of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO), said Johnson was guilty of "surrender".

Following the release of the full EU-UK trade agreement on Saturday morning, Deas said: “When push came to shove, despite the legal, moral and political strength of our case, fishing was sacrificed for other national objectives.

“Lacking legal, moral, or political negotiating leverage on fish, the EU made the whole trade deal contingent on a UK surrender on fisheries.

MORE: Boris Johnson 'caved in' on fishing to secure Brexit deal, claims EU official

“In the end-game, the prime minister made the call and caved in on fish, despite the rhetoric and assurances that he would not do what Ted Heath did in 1973.”


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He added that although the deal “will inevitably be seen by the fishing industry as a defeat”, negotiations have been successful in “having fought off EU’s attempts to tie the UK back into CFP (Common Fisheries Policy)-like arrangements”, which will allow the UK to “develop and apply its own fisheries management systems, tailored to its own fisheries”.

Deas said prior to the agreement, the EU “benefited disproportionately from free access to fish in UK waters and unbalanced quota shares agreed in 1983”, adding that fishermen are awaiting publication of “detailed stock by stock schedules agreed” to find out what this means for their businesses.

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