James O'Brien takes on Brexiteer over 'dire' situation for UK fisheries

15 January 2021, 12:17

By Fiona Jones

James O'Brien takes on this Brexiteer who refuses to accept why UK fisheries are in a "dire" situation.

Caller Simon in Sevenoaks voted for Brexit and cited taking ownership of British waters as a major reason for his decision.

However British fisherman have accused Boris Johnson of dishonesty and betrayal over his Brexit fishing deal.

They are experiencing "continuing chaos" with lorry-loads of live seafood and fish destined for restaurants and shops in Europe being rejected because they are taking too long to arrive due to post-Brexit bureaucracy.

Simon told James that he voted for UK politicians to "dictate what trawlers catch what fish in our waters."

James asked him if he understood why this now was not possible and Simon admitted he did not.

"Because the massive majority of the fish that we eat is caught by foreign fleets," James said, adding, "why do you think the National Federation of Fishermans Organisations is so furious?"

"Because there's increased bureaucracy and increased paperwork because the European Union are finding it difficult to accept common terms," Simon said.

James explained that the increased bureaucracy is for firms that are not members of the single market or the customs union, pointing out it is an "inevitable consequence" of leaving the EU.

When Simon wanted more clarity as he could not understand why "over a day" it has become so difficult to export fish, James said: "If you were to resign your membership of a club today, tomorrow your relationship with that club would be very different."

Simon asked why the EU are not accepting "trade-able goods that they want" to which James pointed out that Brexiteers voted for frictionless trade.

"The benefits of membership are confined to members," James said, reiterating repeatedly that the UK does not have parity with the EU members.