Brexit: Remainers triggered by ‘Gunboats in the channel’ yet happy to see UK fishermen attacked by French trawlers

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Gunships will be tasked with protecting the UK’s fisheries after Britain leaves the EU.

Remainers have been triggered by the news of Gunboats in the channel but do they really think it’s ok to leave UK workers unprotected?

It is not a situation anyone wants but its also not a situation that can be ignored.

If these were workers from any other industry or sector their would be a public outcry for their protection.

Fishing has been one of the most contentious issues in the negotiations with the bloc, with France reportedly discontent with the UK’s proposals for reducing quotas for EU skippers and a short implementation period.

Reciprocal access to each other’s waters will end next year but the two sides are at odds over what will replace the current terms, which the UK fishing industry has long argued leaves them short-changed.

As an independent coastal state come January, Britain will have the right to decide who fishes within its rich exclusive economic zone (EEZ) for fishing, which extends for up to 200 miles.

Earlier this week the EU suggested it should continue to enjoy the same access as it does now for at least another year – even under No Deal. That idea has been rejected by UK ministers.

Asked after an EU summit on Friday whether the bloc’s one-year fishing proposal was akin to “having your cake and eating it”, Mr Macron replied: “I’m not asking to have my cake and eat it, no.

“All I want is a cake that’s worth its weight. Because I won’t give up my share of it either.”

The French president is under domestic pressure to preserve access to UK waters for his country’s fishing fleets during ongoing Brexit negotiations.

EU summit yesterday Emmanuel Macron
Asked after an EU summit on Friday whether the bloc’s one-year fishing proposal was akin to “having your cake and eating it”, Mr Macron replied: “I’m not asking to have my cake and eat it, no.
“All I want is a cake that’s worth its weight. Because I won’t give up my share of it either.”
The French president is under domestic pressure to preserve access to UK waters for his country’s fishing fleets during ongoing Brexit negotiations. Copyright exception Fair dealing.

In 2018 the French suggested that the French Navy were ‘ready to intervene’ in clashes with UK scallop fisherman that’s because no country should leave their workers unprotected Minister says armed forces could step in to cool tensions between trawlers in English Channel LINK

Fishermen are workers, they are British citizens, they deserve the protection of both government and Unions to enable them to carry out their work safely

In October British Fishermen were attacked by a fleet of 18 French trawlers in the Channel.

In the pitch-dark, lit only by their deck lights, French trawlermen launch an attack on UK counterparts fishing for scallops in the Channel.

Around 18 French vessels surrounded two boats from Brixham, Devon, firing flares and throwing oil, rocks and even frying pans at them.

The Girl Macey, skippered by Scott Glover, and the Golden Promise, by Brian “Winkle” Whittington, which are both based out of Brixham, Devon, were surrounded by French boats during the clash.

Mr Whittington told The Times: “They only do it in the dark.

Don’t our workers deserve protection?

“We can’t use the radio when they do it as they just talk over us instantly, so I couldn’t check on Scott to see how he was.

The hostile French crews even threw oil at the Gal Macey before firing a flare at the boat before apparently escorting them out of the Baie de la Seine.

The outbreak of violence comes after a series of clashes and the new incident has sparked fears that hostilities are worsening.

Brian ‘Winkle’ Whittington, 43, skipper of the Golden Promise, said: “I was expecting it this time, they only do it in the dark.

“We can’t use the radio when they do it as they just talk over us instantly, so I couldn’t check on Scott to see how he was.

He said that this incident could have easily resulted in a death, as the flare could have set the Gal Macey on fire.

Derek said: “When I heard about it I was very concerned, if that flare went into the wheel house the boat would have burned up, and would the French have helped?

“The boat would sink and the French would just leave our boys to drown.

“They shouldn’t be doing what they’re doing but they seem to get away with it every year.”

He called on the Royal Navy to intervene to help British fishermen.

It is the duty of the Government to protect all its people including the workers fishing in British fishing waters.

Plans to protect British fishing grounds.

A 34-page ‘official sensitive’ document on reasonable worst-case scenarios states: ‘EU and UK fishers could clash over the lost access to historic fishing grounds, and there could be a significant uplift in illegal fishing activities.’

The Royal Navy has drawn up a range of enforcement measures to protect the UK’s status as an ‘independent coastal state’.

Its four vessels would be deployed ‘when it gets feisty’, government sources said.

It is understood the Navy is preparing to deploy two Batch 1 vessels and two Batch 2 vessels, which are almost 300ft in length and weigh 2,000 tons. 

The Batch 1 vessels are equipped with 20mm cannons and 7.62mm machine guns. The Batch 2s have 30mm MK44 Bushmaster cannons.

A Navy source said: ‘It’s highly likely you’ll get a couple of those at sea on New Year’s Day.’

The insider added that requests for assistance would come from other government departments adding: ‘We will lean in to support wherever required.’

A government source said: ‘They’ll be able to support border force and step in when there are boats in our waters that are not compliant and not willing to exit.

‘If there’s a fishing vessel within 12 nautical miles that isn’t willing to leave that is when the Navy will step in’.

As well as providing a physical presence and deterrence, the vessels will be able to inspect vessels if needed. 

The Navy has eight offshore patrol vessels and has sent their crews on courses to learn about fisheries protection. Helicopters could be drafted in to search for groups of vessels.

Gove warned in October that the Navy would be patrolling British waters in the days after the transition period. The Cabinet Office minister said they would ‘make sure no one is abusing their rights when it comes to access to our fishing waters’.

On going fisheries deals.

Britain has already signed a fisheries agreement with Norway under which the two countries will hold annual negotiations on access to waters and quotas.

Officials said the Fisheries Framework Agreement reached in September demonstrated a shared will to co-operate as independent coastal states and seek effective and sustainable management of their fisheries.

Norway yesterday said it might close its fishing waters to EU and British vessels from January 1. Oslo concluded a bilateral agreement with Britain in October but first wants this to be part of a trilateral deal with the EU.

‘If we do not get a deal by January 1, we will not open Norway’s economic fishing zones to vessels from the EU and Britain,’ said fisheries and seafood minister Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen.

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