Fury as EU accused of ‘bullying’ UK over post-Brexit fishing row | UK | News | EUROtoday

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Campaigners have accused the EU of “bullying” post-Brexit Britain following anger over French fishing boats being banned from some UK waters.

The European Commission has lodged its first formal grievance beneath the commerce and cooperation Agreement (TCA) towards the UK authorities for banning sandeel fishing in its waters.

Many trawlers working out of Boulogne, in France, depend upon catches from the 13 areas topic to the restrictions in Britain. Conservation teams have backed the motion to guard the particular marine areas, spanning 4,000 sq. kilometres.

Charles Clover, co-founder of the Blue Marine Foundation, stated: “The European Commission’s decision to take Britain to the disputes panel of the Brexit treaty is a classic example of bullying which the EU dishes out to independent nations who get in its way across the world, particularly in the Indian Ocean.

“It has no right to tell the UK what to do under the TCA for taking decisions that improve our marine environment in our own waters especially when these measures apply to all vessels, no matter where they are from.”

The UK’s ban on backside trawling – a dangerous fishing method that drags heavy nets alongside the seabed – covers British in addition to EU vessels.

But French diplomats have claimed the transfer breached the EU-UK TCA.

Mr Clover stated: “The sandeel fishing ban, which applies to English and Scottish waters, can easily be demonstrated to be good for seabirds, which are in decline, and the marine ecosystem generally, as many other species from porpoises to cod depend upon it for food.

“A ban on sandeel fishing is therefore the first step you would take to restoring the health of our industrially devastated sea.”

In a press release on-line, the EU has requested consultations with the UK beneath the TCA dispute settlement mechanism.

It stated: “The EU and the UK committed to cooperate in ensuring that fishing activities for shared stocks in their waters are environmentally sustainable and contribute to achieving economic and social benefits with all adopted fisheries management measures to be proportionate, non-discriminatory, and based on the best available scientific advice.”