Brexit: Lump sum aid for impacted French fishermen, disappointment on the British side

The French Ministry of the Sea unveiled on Thursday several measures of the support plan for fishermen and fishmongers after the announcement of a post-Brexit trade agreement between London and the European Union. “Fishermen and wholesalers will be able to benefit from a flat-rate aid of up to € 30,000.00 depending on their dependence on products caught in British waters”, indicates the ministry in a press release.

“The government will present very soon the complete support plan for French fishermen”, specified the Minister of the Sea Annick Girardin in this document.

This plan also provides for the compensation over a limited period of part of the turnover losses of companies dependent on British waters.

Medium and long-term measures include the extension of long-term partial activity for employees of companies dependent on British waters, restructuring aid under the company’s job protection plan. or the possibility of “Validate the acquired experience or retraining in the maritime sector”.

Investment aid within the framework of the recovery plan and the future European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) is also planned.

For vessels dependent on British waters who wish to stop their activity, a “Fleet exit plan” will be implemented.

The post-Brexit agreement provides for a transition period until summer 2026 to give up 25% of European catches, which amount to around 650 million euros per year, and the annual renegotiation planned at the end of this period.

Until then, EU fishermen will retain guaranteed access to areas within 6-12 nautical miles off the British coast (territorial waters) where they have traditionally visited.

Negotiations will start with the United Kingdom from January 1 to negotiate quotas for shared stocks, the ministry’s statement said.

The British expected more

British fishermen are disappointed that the post-Brexit trade deal with the European Union does not further reduce the access of their European counterparts to British waters, an industry representative said on Thursday.

“The sector will be bitterly disappointed that there is no rupture more definitive “, said Barrie Deas, director of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organizations. “It’s a little flan”, he added.

Boris Johnson for his part called the compromise on fishing a ” reasonable “. The British Prime Minister notably underlined that the transitional period of five and a half years to reduce European catches in British waters was admittedly longer than the three years initially accepted by Great Britain but shorter than the 14 years initially claimed by the EU.

According to Barrie Deas, the main cause for concern for British fishermen will almost certainly be the decision to let their European counterparts continue to come up to six miles (9.66 km) from the coast of the United Kingdom, as they hoped. that this limit would be increased to 12 miles.

“I think there will be a lot of frustration”, he said.

Fishing was not of great economic importance in the negotiations, but it is considered by supporters of Brexit as a symbol of sovereignty regained after leaving the European Union.

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