Brexit: Fishing manager blames HMRC for paperwork delays
The National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations said Mr Johnson surrendered to a “neo-colonial relationship” with the EU on fish under the Brexit agreement. At the start of January, the UK began a new relationship with the EU when the Brexit transition period ended.
During the transition Britain remained subject to the bloc’s rules as a member of the single market and customs union.
But since January 1, this ended and the UK and EU will now cooperate under a free trade deal.
At the time, Mr Johnson said the UK’s new relationship with the EU marked a “new beginning in our country’s history”.
In the letter, seen by The Times, the fishing federation claimed Mr Johnson sacrificed the industry in order to get a deal done with the EU.
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The letter accused the prime minister of trying to mislead the public and fishermen over what was negotiated.
According to the paper it read: “Everything … that you, and others at the very top of government told us, and also told parliament [and] the general public, led us to believe that your stance on fishing was not just rhetoric or expedience, but was based around a principle — that a sovereign country should be able to control who fishes in its own waters and should be able to harvest the fish resources in its own waters primarily for its own people.
“That proved not to be the case.”
It added: “It is not that, in the end, you were forced to concede in the face of an intransigent and powerful opponent that has caused such fury across our industry, it is that you have tried to present the agreement as a major success when it is patently clear that it is not.”
The fishing industry is becoming increasingly angry over the deal.
But they are also furious over problems with new customs paperwork that appears to be hitting Scottish fishermen particularly hard.
Many fishermen have kept their boats in port due to distribution problems which have stopped their consignments from reaching customers in the EU.
Scottish Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael said the situation was “a shambles of the government’s own making”.
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He told AP: “For years this government has promised our fishing industry a sea of opportunity, but today our boats are tied up in harbour, their propellers filled with red tape manufactured in Whitehall.
“Yesterday the prime minister told the liaison committee that compensation had been considered for our fishing industry.
“Who is going to be compensated, for what and by how much?”
Last week, the transport company DFDS halted its operations due to delays caused by new customs paperwork.
The company’s shipments are not expected to start running again until next week.
But reports have warned shipments are likely to take two days instead of one to reach markets in the EU.
David Duguid, Scotland Office minister, was asked on BBC Radio Scotland how long it would take before trade begins to start running smoothly again.
He said: “Well, how long’s a piece of string?
“We are working day and night in resolving the issues that we know about and that we can fix directly.”
Mr Johnson’s Brexit deal has left the EU with 75 percent of its fishing quota caught in British waters until the end of the five-and-a-half-year transition period.
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