What does it really mean to take back control of our waters and fishing, are there controls outside the EU which we will have to adhere to after Brexit?

4 December 2018

We’ve had help answering this question from our friends at the Institute for Government.

Currently, fisheries in the UK and in the EU are managed under the Common Fisheries Policy—rules meant to conserve fish stocks and and maintain fair competition between fishers. Under this policy, the EU sets a ‘total allowable catch’ for each species of fish, this is the number or tonnage of fish that can be caught each year. This is then split between EU countries, forming their national quota.

When the UK leaves the Common Fisheries Policy, it will become an independent coastal state and be able to negotiate access to our waters in return for access to other markets and territorial waters. This will form part of the negotiations of the future relationship that will take place during the transition period.

Most fish the UK currently exports goes to EU markets (and most of the fish we consume is imported from countries outside the EU).

The UK has also announced its withdrawal from the London Fisheries Convention. But the government’s white paper on sustainable fisheries acknowledges that there are other international obligations on fisheries the UK will still need to abide by.

This article is part of our Ask Full Fact series on Brexit, answering your questions about Brexit and the latest negotiations between the UK and the EU.

You can see all the questions we’ve answered so far here. If you want to ask us your own question, do that here.

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