CEPESCA stance aligns with the position of the European Fisheries Alliance, where president Gerard van Balsfoort, has already relayed to EU negotiator, Michel Barnier the importance of access to UK waters and market. “If Spain's objective is to guarantee the rights of domestic companies, the access of the Spanish fleet to the waters of the United Kingdom must be given priority. We trust that at the end of the negotiation, fishing will not be used as an exchange currency, as has happened on previous occasions,” said Javier Garat, General Secretary of CEPESCA. It is not just the Spanish fishing fleet that is affected, but the Swedish, Dutch, French, Irish, Belgian, German, and Danish fishermen have been fishing in these waters long before the UK became a part of the EU.
Spanish industry wants EU to ensure access
The Spanish Fisheries Confederation, CEPESCA, has requested the Spanish government to ensure the European Union defends its interests, primarily allowing the Spanish fleet to access the UK waters of the UK and, secondly, to maintain reciprocal access to markets. The Spanish fleet catches around 29,000 tonnes in the Northeast Atlantic of which 9 000 tonnes are caught in UK waters primarily hake, megrim and monkfish worth around €27m. Although these catches only account for 1% of total Spanish catches and far from, for example, Sweden’s 60%, they are essential for shipowners from Galicia, Asturia and Cantabria. Currently, the 88 Spanish-flagged vessels that can fish in the UK waters employ 2,150 crew members and generate around 10,750 indirect jobs.