BRITAIN is facing the prospect of a crisis in its aquaculture industry once it leaves the European Union (EU) after it emerged that London would struggle to stop fishing boats illegally entering its waters if went to a No Deal Brexit.
New British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that the United Kingdom would leave the EU on October 31 come what may, whether it can agree a deal or not. However, a leaked government email has revealed that there is a lot of uncertainty over whether Britain will have the resources to police its seas if it leaves the EU under No Deal terms.
Under EU rules, fishing quotas are allocated to member states, which have to be adhered to but if no deal Brexit goes ahead, Britain will no longer be protected by the agreement. According to a leaked government email prepared by officials in the Department for Environment. there will be a lack of enforcement vessels in Britain as only 12 boats will be available to monitor a space three times the size of the surface area of the UK.
This warning comes as French fishermen, who rely heavily on British waters for their catch, have threatened to disrupt UK exports via the Channel if they are denied access after Brexit. If No Deal Brexit goes ahead, Britain will leave the Common Fisheries Policy and become an independent coastal state.
Under the terms struck with Brussels by former prime minister Theresa May, Britain would continue to allow EU boats access during a 21-month transition period while the two sides tried to reach a new fisheries agreement. However, British lawmakers rejected the deal three times, forcing Brexit to be delayed to the end of October and compelling Mrs May to resign.
New Prime Minister Johnson is pressing ahead with planning for a no-deal departure, despite predictions it could be economically calamitous. His government is already working on proposals known internally as Operation Kingfisher, to support companies that could struggle following a No Deal scenario.
Civil servants are believed to have drawn up a list of companies, including in construction and manufacturing, which could be particularly exposed financially to any volatility. It is not yet clear what will be done about foreign manufacturing companies like Toyota and Nissan with plants in the UK who might decide to relocate to Europe in order to continue enjoying access to the common market.