The United Kingdom has taken a ‘historic step’ to withdraw from the London Fisheries Convention.
The agreement, which aligned with the EU Common Fisheries Policy, allowed Dutch, Irish, French, German and Belgian vessels to fish within six and 12 nautical miles of UK coastline.
According to The Telegraph, EU countries currently catch around 10,000 tonnes of fish off the British coast every year.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove said the UK’s withdrawal was “an historic first step towards building a new domestic fishing policy as we leave the European Union”.
He added: “Leaving the London Fisheries Convention is an important moment as we take back control of our fishing policy. It means for the first time in more than 50 years we will be able to decide who can access our waters.”
Some have their concerns, though. Will McCallum, Greenpeace UK head of oceans, said that leaving the convention will not enough to support small-scale fishers.
McCallum said Gove would need to “re-balance fishing quotas in favour of small-scale, specific locally based fishing communities”.
Leave campaigners like Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson sold Brexit as an opportunity for Britain to take back full control of its fishing waters from Brussels.
Niels Wichmann, chief executive of the Danish fisherman’s association, described the notion that Britain can simply take back its waters as “nonsense,” saying: “We have a common sea basin where we can fish. We have always had that.
“The British claim of getting back your waters is a nonsense, because you never had them. Maybe for oil or gas but not for fish.”