Fishing for Leave, which represents the UK’s booming fishing industry, has condemned the figure which is paid for by British taxpayers in addition to the annual EU membership fee estimated to be £350million weekly – or £4.2billion annually. They also gave an insight into what fish the EU has developed a taste for – herring and mackerel. A spokesman for Fishing for leave said: “Just these two species alone give a small snapshot of the huge £6-8billion adrenaline hit to British coastal communities we hope to repatriate with Brexit and see distributed to all fishermen and communities to see whole areas rejuvenated.
“This should automatically happen upon withdrawal from the EU when the CFP and its unfair quota shares automatically ‘cease to apply’ as per Article 50.
“When Britain reverts to international law under UNCLOS which confers exclusive sovereignty over all waters and resources within our Exclusive Economic Zone.
“We will automatically be a free independent coastal state entitled to all the resources in our waters under the international principle of Zonal Attachment – where a nation receives shares of stocks based on the predominance of species in its waters.”
The spokesman added: “Based on the predominance of catches of Herring in British waters, for example, Britain should have 81 percent of the North Sea Herring Quota rather than nine percent under EU law.”
Since Brexit negotiations began the UK’s fisheries have been at war with other EU fishermen, most notably France.
Earlier this month, however, Ireland issued a grave warning to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, shortly after he was elected, about their own fishing industry post-Brexit.
British waters are critical to the Irish fishing industry with the two top species – mackerel and prawns – 60 percent and 40 percent respectively dependent on UK seas.
Mr Johnson, who scooped a major election victory after the December 12 vote, has vowed to deliver Brexit by taking the UK out of the European Union on January 31, and giving the EU a tight deadline of before the end of next year to agree to a free trade agreement with the UK.
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Mr O’Donoghue said: “We need a reasonable solution, a three-pronged approach that is sustainable and economically and socially sustainable.”
Irish South and West Fish Producers’ Organisation chief executive Patrick Murphy warned the impact of Brexit is already being felt, with a “doubling” of non-Irish vessels fishing in Irish waters.
He also warned “the harsh language of a “no deal Brexit” may have softened in the run-up to the British general election”, there could be “further twists in the weeks ahead”.
The EU has a legally binding commitment under Article 148 of the withdrawal agreement with Mr Johnson to discuss fishing access and trade together.