Environmental Policy News

Fishermen Urged to Remove Gear from Non-UK Waters Ahead of Brexit

With less than two weeks until Brexit, fishermen who have deployed static gear in non-UK waters are being urged to get ready by removing it ahead of 23:00 hours on 31 October.

The UK will become an independent coastal state after Brexit and there will be no automatic right to fish in the waters of EU or other states. An agreement on fishing has been agreed with Norway until the end of 2019. However, access to fish in EU waters will be a matter for future negotiation.

After Brexit, leaving gear in EU waters or hauling it will be a breach of new licenses that will be issued to vessel owners in the run-up to 31st October. The new licenses will limit UK fishermen to working UK waters or those of countries where a post-Brexit fisheries agreement is in place such as Norway.

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) is encouraging fishermen to put their safety first by planning now if they will require multiple trips to haul their gear in advance of Brexit.

Phil Haslam, MMO Operations Director, says:

“If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, then automatic fishing rights in EU waters will end at 11pm on 31 October. So we are advising fishermen who deploy static gear to ensure they’ve hauled it in advance of Brexit.

“However, we want to ensure they do it safely by making as many trips as necessary rather than risk their safety by attempting to recover too much gear in a single trip and hazarding the boat’s stability. That means some fishermen will need to plan and act now if they’ve deployed a lot of gear.”

The right to transit through EU waters and those of other states will continue to apply after Brexit but all fishing gear must be lashed and stowed to comply with regulations.

Find more information on preparing for EU exit for the fisheries sector.

Story by MMO

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