AND so it begins.
Brexit Britain has started to “take back control” and one of the first expressions of that retrenchment is the announcement that only British trawlers will be allowed fish inside the UK’s 12-nautical mile zone, excluding Irish trawlers from waters they have fished generation after generation.
Currently, the Irish fleet has access to parts of the UK six to 12-mile zone, as has the UK fleet to parts of the Irish zone.
These access rights are recognised by the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy.
Minister for the Marine Michael Creed described the announcement as “unwelcome and unhelpful”.
This decision must act as a wake-up call.
After all, it comes from a government that has shown little or no interest in how their decision to quit the EU might affect this island.
The decision also puts a lot of the guff about soft border controls into perspective too.
Be that as it may, access to waters between six and 12 miles from British shores is not Ireland’s greatest priority.
Access to fishing grounds between the 12-mile limit and 200-mile UK-wide limit is.
The Common Fisheries Policy allows all European countries access and sets quotas for how much fish nations can catch there.
Over the next while all sorts of wild assertions will be made as blowhard bluster must become realistic negotiation.
Despite that, any suggestion the Irish vessels might be further constrained must provoke a warning shot across British bows.
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