British ministers are finalizing the plans for the £100 million post-Brexit fishing package scheme promised by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to help revive the fishing fleet affected by the UK’s compromise on fishing rights under the recently concluded EU-UK trade deal.
Under this plan, British crews will receive financial support to expand their fleet within a five-and-a-half-year transition period. This improvement will help British fishers catch species that only the French and Dutch teams traditionally sought. Reports also say that along with the fleets, the fish processing industry will receive support to expand and gain the capacity to land the additional fish, reports say.
The Fishing Package Scheme Origin
The promise of support came following the criticism that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the UK government received from the fishermen who believe that they were “absolutely worse off” because of the trade deal.
The criticism stemmed from the compromise with Brussels, which allowed the European Union (EU) to keep 75 percent of its haul from British waters, and return some percentage to British fishers five-and-a-half-year transition phase. The deal also includes the provision saying that as the EU’s quota share on British fishing resources reduces, the UK will ultimately gain a 25 percent quota return by the end of the period.
As a response, the British government, according to Cabinet Office minister, Michael Gove, is now preparing a support package—one that will improve the UK fleet and fishing communities. The improvements will be part of preparing for the “gradual increase in the amount of fish” that the British fishermen will be “entitled to take,” he said.
Gove also said that “in 2026, they [the British fishermen] will be taking two-thirds of the UK’s marine wealth – a sizable uplift.”
The “Disappointing” Compromise
Chancellor Rishi Sunak, a government source, said that the fishing terms under the trade deal were nowhere near the 80 percent the UK and Boris Johnson had hoped for, but they also considered the need to prepare for the post-Brexit future.
He said that the government “took the view that the fishing fleet needed to be rebuilt to take advantage of the new access.” This thought led to the British government’s move on the trade deal, which dispelled potential troubles on the provisional level for quotas and sanctions on trade, aviation, and road elements for the UK if no agreement is reached.
National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO) chairman, Andrew Locker, shared that the post-Brexit trade deal’s terms were “disappointing.” He shared it made them feel “angry, disappointed and betrayed” because Johnson’s initial promise included the “rights to all the fish that swim in our exclusive economic zone.”
He even went as far as saying that the fishermen’s terms are so much worse than when they were under the EU bloc. He said that they used to swap things with fish to put together an annual fishing plan, but the Brexit made it impossible, and Johnson’s compromise made it much worse, leaving them with only a small fraction of what they had promised.
“We are going to really, really struggle this year,” Locker said.