Speaking to Express.co.uk, Elspeth Macdonald claimed that the old injustices suffered by the British fishing community with the introduction of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy should be claimed by a new fisheries agreement which will see the UK regain full control of its waters. Ms Macdonald, who believes that a no-deal Brexit scenario would be much more damaging to EU fishermen than UK fishermen, said international fishing laws would allow the UK to decide who enters and leaves its waters.
“So you know I think it would be more, I initially thought it would be more for the EU than for the UK. ”
The UK government has argued that fisheries agreements should be separated from the trade agreement with access negotiated annually, as Norway is doing, but the EU wants unfettered access for the next ten years.
Moreover, the French government has threatened to veto a trade deal unless concessions are made on the British side.
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The fishing dispute dates back to the Cod War of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, when the Royal Navy had to send warships to protect its fishing vessels.
After an incident in the early 1980s when a naval officer found evidence of illegal activity on a French boat, things escalated at an alarming rate.
Documents uncovered by Express.co.uk at the National Archives revealed that Lieutenant Simon Hambrook, of Balderton, boarded a French trawler in the North Sea in July 1981.
He found evidence suggesting that the trawler had used illegal nets and HMS Alderney was ordered to escort the vessel to Grimsby.
The skipper, Mr Blanpain, reportedly tried to try his luck, but later abandoned his ship after a collision with HMS Alderney.
All three of them appeared in Grimsby Magistrates’ Court and Mr Blanpain admitted using undersized nets and was fined up to £ 1,000.
French fishermen have now pledged to block Dover and Calais if there is no post-Brexit trade deal between the UK and the EU.
Trawlers have said they will respond to denial of access to UK waters by blocking vital ferry routes carrying cargo from entering major UK ports.
Dimitri Rogoff, president of the Normandy regional fisheries committee, told France Info radio: “If we are deprived of our fishing grounds, we will not see the British supplying the French market.
“There will therefore be blockages to ferries since this is mainly done by ferries. And on that, we are quite clear and determined. ”