Brexit: Spain confident Galician fishing fleet won't be kept out of British waters

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Alex MacBeth - [email protected]
Brexit: Spain confident Galician fishing fleet won't be kept out of British waters
Miguel Riopa/AFP.

Spain’s Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Luis Planas told the Spanish parliament that fishing remained at the heart of the ongoing negotiations between the UK and the EU.


Planas said his government was ready to react to “any negotiations outcome,” according to a government statement. 

Spanish concerns about fishing can be split into three categories, according to the minister. Spain is worried about the access its fleet, especially vessels based in the northern region of Galicia, will have to British waters after Brexit.

Galician fishing boats could lose €500 million if they lose access to the UK’s waters. A report by the University of Santiago furthermore estimates that 81 sectors, including transport, financial and legal services, would be affected in such a scenario.

Planas said British boats backed by Spanish capital, as well as Spanish boats operating near the Falkland Islands, are also major concerns. The minister however expressed “optimism” that the UK will not pull out f the London Fisheries Convention, which gives several EU states access to British waters. Should the UK withdraw as part of any Brexit deal, Spain's fishing boats would no longer be guaranteed access to UK waters. 

“If there’s no access to their waters, there’s no access to products,” Planas said at a conference on fishing in Santiago de Compostela last week, reports local daily La Voz de Galicia. The UK is apparently keen to allow foreign vessels to retain access to its waters as UK fishing vessels do not have capacity to fully exploit UK waters alone, according to Planas.

Spanish companies meanwhile have been warned to make contingency plans for a potential no-deal scenario. More than 120 companies attended a seminar last Thursday highlighting threats to Spanish trade with the UK, hosted by Spain’s Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism. More than 300 Spanish companies operate in Britain.

Spain and the UK have already reached an agreement to settle any outstanding issues relating to the future relationship between Gibraltar and Spain, according to Spain’s prime minister, reports The Local Spain. PM Pedro Sanchez nevertheless recently became only the third EU leader to call for a second Brexit vote.

READ MORE: Brexit road-tripper: 'It has made me appreciate what Europe has to offer and what we have to lose'

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