Brexit: Sandell hits out at 'disgraceful' lack of Norway deal
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And they have been backed by the chairmen of two influential parliamentary committees, as well as Luke Pollard, Labour’s Shadow Environment Secretary, all of whom have urged to Prime Minister to deliver on his promise of a bright post-Brexit future for British fishermen. Speaking today, Jane Sandell, CEO of UK Fisheries Ltd, which specialises in distant water fishing, ie those outside the UK, said Britain must impose what she called a “temporary trade remedy against Norway” to the nation’s fishermen a chance of earning a living and to restore balance to the economic relationship between the two countries.
UK Fisheries’ vessel, the Kirkella, has been severely limited in the amount of time it can spend fishing off the coast of Norway, where it has previously operated.
Ms Sandell explained: “UK-Norway fisheries talks for 2021 collapsed in June when the Norwegians walked away from the table.
“Not only does this prevent the UK fleet from fishing in Norwegian waters for Arctic cod and haddock for the UK market – but it also means Norwegian fishing boats are free to catch the self-same fish and export them to the UK market.”
She added: “This double whammy means that most of the fish that used to be caught by British crews for our national dish and sold in fish and chip shops across the country will now be caught by Norwegians and Icelanders and exported to us.
“Our state-of-the-art trawler Kirkella is reduced to fishing for scraps off Svalbard.
“And all this because the UK refuses to flex its muscles as an independent coastal state.”
The Fisheries Producers’ Organisation (FPO) was therefore calling on the Government to impose the temporary remedial tariff on cod and haddock imports from Norway until such time as the Scandinavian country restores the UK’s cod and haddock quotas in their waters, Ms Sandell said.
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Furthermore, the FPO has asked the Government’s Trade Remedies Authority (TRA) to make a ruling on this basis.
Speaking in a debate in Westminster Hall earlier this week, Neil Parish, Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee called on the government to “apply a temporary trade remedy with Norway to try to get our boats access to their waters”.
In the same debate, Angus MacNeil, Chairman of the International Trade Committee, read into the record a letter he had received from Sir Barney White Spunner, chairman of the advisory board of UK Fisheries, in support of such an approach
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In his letter, Sir Barney said: “The recent deal with Norway heaps more pain on an already hamstrung distant waters fleet.
At the same time that Norway removed our right to fish for cod in its waters, the UK has given them the right to sell the self-same cod without any tariff at all to UK chippies.
“In effect the UK government has given the Norwegians the greater part of our market overnight and achieved nothing in return for English fishermen.
“We are calling on the government to apply a temporary trade remedy to bring the Norwegians back to the negotiating table.”
Mr MacNeil commented: “That deserves to be highlighted and brought to the fore in this debate.
“Many in the fishing industry in all parts of the UK are suffering quite badly.”
Luke Pollard, Shadow Secretary of State for EFRA also gave the call his backing, saying: “The plight of the distant water fleet is often ignored.
“It is a sector of our economy that has been hugely betrayed.
“Those fishers are a living, breathing example of the betrayal that has been perpetrated against them.”
Express.co.uk has approached Defra for comment.
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