News: Letter to The Times: Cabinet carnage, fishing rights and free ports
26 July 2019
Sir, The story of the former UK trade envoy’s resignation over the Department for International Trade’s mismanagement of an £800 million trade deal with Canada is sadly familiar (“No-deal Brexit: trade envoy quits over ‘cack-handed’ planning”, Jul 23). The Hull-based trawlers of our company, UK Fisheries, comprise the bulk of the UK’s distant waters fleet, yet all of our attempts to secure assurances from the DIT for the future of the UK distant-waters fishing industry in a no-deal Brexit have met with stalling, inexplicable dogma and incomprehension.
We trust that, under Liz Truss, the DIT will understand that the UK must not open up access to its lucrative markets for fisheries products to those trading partners around the North Sea who do not allow our distant-waters fleet to continue fishing off Norway (including Svalbard), Greenland and elsewhere. Under Liam Fox, the DIT has not deployed our most important bargaining chip in these post-Brexit trade talks, even though this represents an immediate risk to our centuries-old industry.
Now that the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas is calling for a 70 per cent cut in the 2020 cod catch from the UK’s own North Sea waters in an attempt to preserve stocks, it is even more important that our distant-waters fleet be allowed to continue fishing its traditional and bountiful waters.
Sir Barney White-Spunner
Chairman of the advisory board, UK Fisheries, Hull