Boris Johnson has been urged to “hold firm and not trade fishing away” as Brexit trade talks enter their last few days.
In a joint statement, the bosses of the two leading national fishing organisations called on the prime minister to “right the wrongs of the past” and secure Britain’s future as an independent coastal state.
The calls came as Mr Johnson and European Council president Charles Michel acknowledged “significant areas of difference remain” in negotiations.
A No 10 spokesman said Mr Johnson reiterated that the UK would be “prepared” to leave at the end of the transition period without a trade deal, but acknowledged brokering one would be “better for both sides”.
“Although some progress had been made in recent discussions, they acknowledged that significant areas of difference remain, particularly on fisheries,” a statement read.
“The prime minister reiterated that any deal must reflect what the British people voted for and that businesses and citizens needed certainty very soon on the terms of our future relationship.”
Fishing bosses are publicly urging UK negotiators to 'hold firm' as Brexit talks enter final stages….last week they revealed fears of a last-minute sell-out: https://t.co/sKDBgSNnip pic.twitter.com/Q23FqFQzFY
— Dan O'Donoghue (@MrDanDonoghue) October 7, 2020
Barrie Deas, National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations boss and Elspeth Macdonald, Scottish Fishermen’s Federation chief executive, said: “We know that the EU is putting intense pressure on UK negotiators but we urge them to hold firm and not trade fishing away.
“The UK, as an independent coastal state, is seeking a deal with the EU that mirrors the arrangements it has with other independent states.
“We look forward to securing arrangements for our fisheries that will be fit for the future and will enable our industry to thrive.”