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Fisheries Minister Rasmus Prehn expressed the importance of UK fishing waters as a deal with the European Union on fish stocks for 2021 was agreed. The deal is worth £333 million to Britain’s fishing industry after what Mr Prehn admitted were “tough negotiations.”
He also admitted his annoyance the UK was now “outside the EU”, stressing the Brexit message was “tiring”.
During the negotiations, the minister, who was appointed to the role in November 2020, admitted some “concessions” were made on sandeels by Brussels.
Sandeels are small eel-like fish which grow up to 30 cm in length with 86,651 tonnes being allocated to Danish fishermen for 2021.
However, Mr Prehn admitted: “But my clear assessment is that Danish fisheries are better off in the long run in an agreement with the British than without, as it is now that we must lay the building blocks for close cooperation, where we have real and full access to the important British waters.
“The agreement must help to ensure that we also have access to each other’s waters in the future.
“It has been a lot on the table this first time with the British outside the EU, but we are constantly working to strengthen the cooperation so that we can ensure the best possible conditions for Danish fishermen.”
EU fisheries ministers will now scrutinize the specific content of the deal, signed on Thursday.
Following approval of the agreement, the Commission will submit a proposal on how the agreement will be implemented in EU member states.
In light of the deal, Danish fishing chiefs are looking at ways the industry can adapt in light of Brexit which they say has caused dramatic damage for many fishermen.
Esben Sverdrup-Jensen, chief executive of the Danish Pelagic Producers Organisation, said the agreement was partly a blow to his members after they had already endured cuts during the Trade and Cooperation Argeement, signed on Christmas Eve.
He added: “We are very unhappy that we were forced to give up even more quota on top of last year’s Brexit deal because the UK pushed to set quotas for sand eel and Norway pout below the scientific advice.”
The tense talks lasted six months and included a UK bid to prevent fishing in the British waters in the Dogger Bank area of the North Sea.
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UK officials argued the move made sense on environmental grounds, but Denmark said the move would have overwhelmingly affected EU vessels.
The UK Government said the crunch negotiations were “challenging” with a source adding: “The deal is a Brexit win for the UK.
“We note some EU states are heavily reliant on our waters for fishing which is why the negotiations were challenging.”
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