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Brexit talks have been stalling over a series of key issues both the UK and the European Union have shown no willingness to make concessions. The future of British fisheries has remained a point of contention since the start of the talks as the EU continues to demand access to UK waters at the end of the transition period. Tim Bale, the deputy-director of the UK in a Changing Europe think tank, suggested Boris Johnson is unlikely to give into EU demands because of their “symbolic” importance.
Speaking to CNBC, Mr Bale said: “Clearly there are far more important sectors that matter economically in these negotiations than fishing.
“I think the problem is it’s emotive, it’s symbolic. It’s all about the slogan that won the referendum, take back control, it’s one aspect of that.
“Certainly, in some communities it plays very well and for the Government that is important.”
The International Relations expert however suggested the Prime Minister has been conducting the negotiations with Brussels by still keeping an eye on the impact the talks could have on voters.
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He continued: “It obviously not only has an eye on the negotiations themselves but also on the electoral implications of everything it does.
“Actually, it’s also important for Scotland as well.
“Scotland has a disproportionate share of fishing so it’s quite important that England isn’t seen to sell out Scotland on this issue.”
Michel Barnier has repeatedly renewed demands from the EU27 for continued access to British waters despite years of criticism from UK fishermen about depteated stocks and unfair competition.
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The National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisation issued a stern warning to Mr Barnier reiterating Brussels’ “‘exploitative relationship” with British waters is coming to an end.
Barry Deas, the federation’s CEO, told Express.co.uk: “The changed legal position at the end of the transition period is that EU and UK vessels no longer have automatic access to each others waters.
“Access will have to be negotiated as part of annual fisheries negotiations, along with appropriate quota shares.
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“The EU fleets fish around six times much in UK waters as UK vessels fish in EU waters and to obtain access to UK waters in the future will have to agree to quota shares which more closely reflect the resources in UK waters.”
Mr Deas added: “Understandably, Michel Barnier does not like this but the fact is that the UK has been trapped in an asymmetric and exploitative relationship with the EU on fisheries for 40 years and that is about to end.”
A 2015 report from the Government found vessels from European Union countries caught 683,000 tonnes of fish worth £484million in UK waters.
But the analysis showed British boats only caught 111,000 tonnes worth £114million revenue in EU member states’ waters.
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