Brexit: Redwood urges government to negotiate new fishing deal
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Conservative MP John Redwood took to Twitter to call on the Prime Minister to get behind the fishing industry. He insisted there were “plenty of options” to help British trawlermen “sell more of our fish”.
The Brexiteer tweeted: “Let’s have more determination from our government to boost our fishing industry.
“There are plenty of options to help them to land, process and sell more of our fish as we take control of our waters effectively.”
Mr Redwood’s tweet comes as fishermen are facing red tape in the wake of Brexit.
Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove this week insisted Britain is prepared to do “whatever is required” to support its fishermen post-Brexit.
He admitted there were “bureaucratic obstacles” to “negotiate and navigate” with the European Union.
Mr Gove made the comments on Thursday during Cabinet Office questions as he was pressed to support “retaliation” against member state vessels.
Speaking in the Commons, Conservative MP Sheryll Murray said: “Fishing exporters in my constituency are having problems exporting to the EU.
“We signed a deal that said we could export to the EU.
“What action is (Mr Gove) taking to ensure these exports happen without hindrance and will he start boarding EU vessels in retaliation if we still see this obstructive action on the part of the EU?”
Mr Gove replied: “What we do need to do is make sure that any bureaucratic obstructions which individual EU member states may still be applying are lifted and of course as I mentioned… we will reserve our rights as an independent coastal state to do whatever is required in order to make sure that our fishermen are backed up every step of the way.”
Tory MP Lia Nici said: “Grimsby fish exporters are reporting to me that despite the EU agreement for free trade, French ports are introducing additional paperwork and extra costs.
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“They’re even insisting that we hire EU nationals to do that additional work.
“Will (Mr Gove) take this matter up so that we can make sure the people of the EU continue to enjoy the highest quality seafood in Europe processed in Great Grimsby?”
Mr Gove responded: “Well, (Ms Nici) is absolutely right, the highest quality seafood in the whole of Europe is produced in Great Grimsby, indeed I remember my dad when he ran a fish processing business sending some of the fish that he bought at Aberdeen fish market to Grimsby for subsequent processing and it was enjoyed on tables across Europe.
“And she’s absolutely right that there are still some bureaucratic obstacles that we need to negotiate and navigate.
“We have set up a specific seafood exports working group which meets twice weekly and we’re also engaging with our friends in France in order to make sure they can continue to enjoy Great Grimsby fish.”
The introduction of new checks and paperwork since the end of the Brexit transition period on December 31 has caused disruption to exports of fresh fish and seafood to the EU.
Fishing was a major sticking point in negotiations between the UK and the bloc on a post-Brexit trade deal.
The two sides finally reached an agreement on Christmas Eve after months of wrangling.
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