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Post-Brexit fishing rights is a particularly contentious topic in the current trade negotiations with the EU, with Boris Johnson insisting the UK must regain control over its waters. But Brussels is determined to cling to the current set-up, which allows European trawlers significant access to British waters.
Currently, EU fishermen catch around three times as much fish in British waters than UK trawlers catch in other EU sea areas.
As a result, British fishermen, the vast majority of which heavily backed Brexit, are keen to regain control of UK waters and stop EU trawlers having priority.
This position is outlined by Mike Park, a Scottish fisherman of over 30 years who is now managing director of the White Fish Association, which represents the interest of 260 fishermen.
He is convinced the UK will be able to catch up with the success of Norway and Iceland.
Mr Park said: “Off Norway and Iceland, fishermen can use 85 to 90 percent of their stocks, while we Scottish fishermen can only catch around 40 percent here.
“After Brexit, we as a sovereign state want to have the opportunity to get the majority of the fish out of our waters ourselves.”
But the Scotsman says the UK should not completely block the EU from accessing its waters.
He said: “It would be neither economically nor politically sensible to completely ban other fishing nations.
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“But we are striving to significantly reduce the quantities that fishermen from the EU and certainly from Norway are still allowed to catch here in the future.”
If Britain successfully negotiates greater control over its fishing waters, it would be at the expense of EU trawlers who currently take home more than half of the catches from British waters.
German fishermen could have a lot to lose if British negotiators are successful in its bid to return sovereignty to the UK, according to German radio station Deutschlandfunk.
Fisheries biologist Gerd Kraus, who heads the Thünen Institute for Sea Fisheries in Bremerhaven, agreed and said Germany has a lot to lose.
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He said: “So the German deep-sea fishing is not particularly large, but it is a very efficient and lucrative fishery.
“Eighty percent of herring catches in the North Sea are in UK waters and 60 percent of mackerel catches are in the waters.
“And so these are really dimensions that fishermen in other regions can no longer compensate for.”
Fisheries economist Ralf Döring said a no deal scenario would be even worse, as EU trawlers could be completely shut out of UK waters.
He said: “When you see the negotiations, you have to expect that there will be no deal as of January 1st. So no fishing contract.
“And that would mean that German fisheries or EU fishermen are no longer allowed to fish in British waters.”
Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg.
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