This is an important first step. The European Union and the United Kingdom reached an agreement in principle on Wednesday. The European Commission has announced that its fishing vessels will catch up on the jointly managed fish stocks for 2021. The agreement was finalized in a telephone call between Fisheries Commissioner Virginius Cincinnatius and UK Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs George Eustace. “This agreement ensures forecasting and continuity for our fleets through the final DAC (total allowable catches) throughout the year,” the commissioner said in a statement.

“It proves that both partners on both sides of the channel can find agreements and move forward if they work together,” he said. The agreement guarantees the fishing rights of the European Union and the UK Navy until the end of 2021. This sets the total allowable catch (DAC) for 75 shared fish stocks by 2021, as well as some deep-sea stocks for 2021. And 2022, the European Commission said. It also clarifies access limits for organisms outside the quota.

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Source of tensions

The signing of the contract is expected in the coming days. This will allow both parties to trade the quota. Fishing was the hardest part of the post-Brexit trade agreement negotiations between the EU and the UK. The catch of EU fishermen in British waters is estimated at 650 million euros per year. The compromise reached is a source of tension. After an interim run until June 2026, European navies had to release 25% of their catches in British waters. This access will be reviewed annually.

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European fishermen believe this will hamper visibility and prevent investment. The need to obtain licenses increases dissatisfaction. In order to obtain their license, French ships must prove that they had already gone fishing during the 2012-2016 reference period, which is complicated for very small boats, which do not require registration methods and geolocation.