In a renewed attempt to ratchet up the pressure on the Prime Minister to guarantee the future of Britain’s fisheries after exiting the EU, the appeal warns the that not scrapping Europe’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) would be an “absolute failure” for the Government.
The petition comes after 40 MPs urged Mrs May to pull Britain out of the London Convention – a pre-EU agreement which allows a gaggle of European states to fish between six and 12 nautical miles of Britain’s shores.
The petition reads: “In the 1970s Edward Heath betrayed our fisherman and our coastal communities with the Common Fisheries Policy. A leaked report now shows that the EU wants to retain control over the fish stocks in British waters.
“We call on Parliament to ensure these waters and fish stocks return to Britain.”
The petition also reminds the Government that much of the referendum campaign was framed around reclaiming fish stocks in British waters, and argues it “became a key aspect of sovereignty”.
The Prime Minister is coming under increased pressure to protest Britain's fisheries after Brexit
It adds: “It would be an absolute failure for the Government and Parliament to allow the CFP to continue when the chance to rebuild the coastal fishing communities of Britain are so close.”
The CFP sets quotas for EU member states on the type of fish they’re allowed to catch.
The policy is deeply unpopular among British fisherman, many of whom argue it has partially destroyed their livelihood.
British fisherman have railed against the CFP for threatening their livelihoods
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs reassured British fisherman in its response
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Responding to the petition on the Parliament website, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs claimed the UK would control fisheries across British waters after the Brexit process is complete.
The response reads: “On leaving the EU, the UK will control fisheries access in its Exclusive Economic Zone and manage those waters in accordance with international law, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
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“As a coastal state outside the EU, the UK will be responsible, under international law, for control of UK waters and the sustainable management of fisheries within the UK’s Exclusive economic Zone. The UK will negotiate as an independent coastal state.
“We want to use this opportunity to create a resilient, competitive and ultimately more profitable UK Seafood sector, and deliver a cleaner, healthier and more productive marine environment. We will work to achieve the best possible deal for the whole of the UK fishing industry in negotiations.”