UK Fishing Waters Photo: JerseyEveningPost

Fishing: UK, EU Brexit negotiators close to breaking impasse for a deal

*Two sides are zeroing in on a potential compromise over quotas towards reaching a deal by mid-November

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

Against the backdrop of the Brexit regarding access to the United Kingdom (UK) fishing waters, the country and the European Union (EU) officials are currently zeroing in on a solution to break the eight-month deadlock over one of the biggest obstacles to their planned trade deal.

Agency report says in a sign that an agreement could be struck by the mid-November deadline set by both sides, a compromise is now emerging on the issue of what access EU boats will have to U.K. fishing waters, according to close sources to the EU side of the ongoing discussions.

According to report, the potential solution would allow Britain to claim it has won back control of its seas, a key government demand, and pave the way for the country’s fishing industry to catch more than it does currently.

Quotas would be set to the principle of zonal attachment, the formula the UK had been seeking.

But, significantly, decisions over EU boats’ exact allocations would be deferred until a later date, which means that they wouldn’t lose out immediately, and any disagreements over how the catch is divided up in the future wouldn’t necessarily torpedo the wider deal.

While fishing makes up only a tiny part of their economies, it is of totemic political importance to the UK and France, whose industry has relied on the ability to catch in seas around Britain for decades.

The EU has made any wider deal on its future relationship with Britain conditional on reaching an accord on fish ─ and the issue had become one of the biggest roadblocks to a deal.

Clement Beaune, France’s Europe Minister, recently told the BBC that fisheries is “equally important for both of us, France and the U.K., the EU and the U.K.

“Let’s try to find a solution which respects both interests. I think it’s possible.”

However, Beaune stressed that he was “cautiously optimistic” of reaching a wider accord “in the coming days ─ or two weeks let’s say” that would balance the priorities of both sides.

A U.K. government official declined to comment on the state of the negotiations with the EU, but added: “They need to reckon with the fact we will be an independent coastal state with control of our waters by the year’s end.”

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