New quota deal allows British fishermen to catch 30,000 tonnes more than before Brexit

British boats allowed to catch 140,000 tonnes of fish worth £280 million next year - Jason Alden/Bloomberg

British boats allowed to catch 140,000 tonnes of fish worth £280 million next year – Jason Alden/Bloomberg

British fishermen will be able to land 30,000 tonnes more next year than they could before Brexit, ministers said on Tuesday.

The government has announced a new quota agreement with the EU that will bring total potential catches for UK trawlers to £750 million by 2023.

Senior Tories said the upswing showed the benefits of the UK leaving the bloc and regaining its status as an independent coastal state.

Under the agreement with Brussels, British boats will be allowed to catch 140,000 tonnes of fish worth £280 million next year.

That’s a 27 per cent increase on the 110,000 tonnes the UK would have been allocated if it were still a member of the bloc, the government said.

The increase is expected to particularly benefit Scottish fleets and coastal communities in the UK by boosting exports.

Britain has signed fisheries agreements with the EU, Norway and North Atlantic countries such as Greenland and Iceland - Annie Sakkab/Bloomberg

Britain has signed fisheries agreements with the EU, Norway and North Atlantic countries such as Greenland and Iceland – Annie Sakkab/Bloomberg

Mark Spencer, the fisheries minister, said the “big deal” showed Britain had regained control of its waters after Brexit.

“We are 30,000 tonnes better off now that we are outside the EU than if we had remained members,” he told the Commons.

“As an independent coastal state, we have the freedom to negotiate on our own terms and push for deals that deliver results for the UK fishing industry.

“This deal is better than we would have negotiated if we had been inside the EU. It is clear that 30,000 tons is a significant amount of fish.”

Britain has signed three fisheries agreements this year with Brussels, Norway and North Atlantic countries such as Greenland and Iceland.

In total, they account for more than £750 million in opportunity for British boats, which is £34 million more than was secured last year.

‘Welcomed by coastal communities’

George Eustice, former environment minister, said fishers in particular would benefit from a “significant recovery” of cod in the North Sea.

“As an independent coastal state, the UK has gained a larger share of the fish stocks in our waters, but it has also been in a stronger position to advocate for more sustainable catch limits in negotiations with our neighbours,” he told The Telegraph.

Craig Mackinlay, a Tory MP, added: “It’s great news as we leave the EU that we are gradually finding our freedoms to catch more domestic fish.

“This will be welcomed by coastal communities like mine, but there is still a long way to go, especially in terms of banning foreign factory ships from our waters.”

The deal was welcomed by the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, who described it as a “good outcome” for its members.

But others lost out with UK Fisheries CEO Jane Sandell saying it was another “severe blow to anglers in the North East of England”.

Under the trade deal, ships from the EU will have guaranteed access to UK waters until 2026, with their quotas slowly being reduced.

After that, Britain will be able to negotiate with the bloc and at the same time fully determine the terms of entry for boats from European countries.

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