News: Powerful voices back call for trade remedy against Norway27 July 2021
British fishermen shut out of Norwegian water after talks collapse
Britain must now impose a temporary trade remedy against Norway to give our fishermen a chance of earning a living and to restore balance to the economic relationship between the two countries.
And this isn’t just the view of UK Fisheries – the chairs of the Parliamentary committees on both International Trade and the Environment have called on the Government to keep its promises to the fishing industry in a post-Brexit world.
UK-Norway fisheries talks for 2021 collapsed in June when the Norwegians walked away from the table. Not only does this prevent the UK fleet from fishing in Norwegian waters for Arctic cod and haddock for the UK market – it also means Norwegian fishing boats are free to catch the self-same fish and export them to the UK market.
This double whammy means that most of the fish that used to be caught by British crews for our national dish and sold in fish & chip shops across the country will now be caught by Norwegians and Icelanders and exported to us. Our state-of-the-art trawler Kirkella is reduced to fishing for scraps off Svalbard.
And all this because the UK refuses to flex its muscles as an independent coastal state.
The Fisheries Producers’ Organisation (FPO) has called on the Government to impose a temporary remedial tariff on cod and haddock imports from Norway until such time as it restores the UK’s cod and haddock quotas in their waters, and has asked the Trade Remedies Authority (TRA) to make a ruling on this basis.
And powerful voices are being raised in support. Neil Parish, Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee called on the government in a Westminster Hall debate to “apply a temporary trade remedy with Norway to try to get our boats access to their waters.”
And Angus MacNeil, Chair of the International Trade Committee, read into the record a letter he had received from UK Fisheries supporting this position.
Luke Pollard, Shadow Secretary of State for EFRA also gave the call his backing, pointing out that “the plight of the distant water fleet is often ignored. It is a sector of our economy that has been hugely betrayed. Those fishers are a living, breathing example of the betrayal that has been perpetrated against them.”
The Hansard record of the debate is available here