Dutch captain, Niels Pals, made the claim as he expressed fears about the future of the Dutch industry if the UK and EU fail to reach a free trade agreement. Both the EU and UK have agreed to expedite talks in pursuit of a free trade deal over the next few months. Led by David Frost, the UK has insisted Britain must not be tied into any EU regulations or rules in order to fully regain independence and sovereignty from Brussels.
The state of fisheries has remained one of the biggest areas of divergence between the two and Dutch fishermen have expressed their fear that without a deal, jobs could be lost in the country’s fishing industry.
In an interview with German news channel, Taggesschau, Pim Visser of the VisNed union has claimed towns could be devastated if a free trade agreement isn’t reached.
Mr Visser said: “Fishing is of course only a small part of the economy.
“But regionally for individual towns it is of massive importance for us.”
Dutch captain, Niels Pals also claimed the situation on the waters has only got worse over the last few months.
After returning from a catch in the North Sea, Mr Pals insisted the delay over an agreement has now hindered relations between UK and EU fishermen.
He said: “If you radio the British colleagues to coordinate where you will skipper, then they just yell: Brexit. Brexit. Brexit.”
Although the fishing industry represents a smaller portion of the UK economy, there is a great desire to remove Britain from the Common Fisheries Policy.
Under the policy, the fishing area of all EU states is considered as one although each respective coastal state has the ability to manage its own Exclusive Economic Zone.
Overall, the agreement is based on Norway’s deal with the EU whereby both sides negotiate fishing quotas on a yearly basis.
If agreed, the deal can also be suspended for three months with a view to coming to an amicable resolution.
Either party can also terminate the agreement two years from written notice.
With Mr Frost taking a hard-line stance in negotiations so far, The Times has reported the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier may concede ground on fisheries in order to agree a wider deal.
A senior EU diplomatic source said: “To dilute the influence of France and the other coastal states, Barnier needs to have the whole trade deal, which stands or falls on fishing.”
A UK Government source said in response: “There have been signals that this is an area where Mr Barnier wants to move, but as yet there are no firm proposals on the table.”