Denmark prepares for post-Brexit tussle over fishing rights

Danish government officials are gathering evidence to potentially challenge the UK government over fishing rights in the seas around Britain

If necessary, Danish officials plan to challenge the UK government’s post-Brexit stance on taking back control of its waters by arguing they have historic rights to fish the seas round Britain dating back to the 1400s, the Guardian reports.

If the worst comes to the worst, a legal case based on archival documents could potentially be fought in the international court of justice in The Hague.

Denmark wants the UK to recognise the right of its fleet to fish shared stocks of species such as cod, herring, mackerel, plaice and sand eel. It is estimated that these stocks make up 40 percent of the Danish fishermen’s annual take and some communities are economically dependent on access to UK waters.

Seven other member states will be affected if the UK limits access to its waters after 2019.

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Potential job losses on the horizon
Denmark’s foreign minister, Anders Samuelsen, told the Guardian that “Danish fishermen have historically been fishing across the North Sea. The common fisheries policy in the EU has regulated this, based on historical rights and preserving our common stocks that don’t follow economic zones,” he said.

“Clearly, this is very important for many fishing communities especially along the Jutland coast, and we all put our full support behind the EU’s negotiators to find the best way forward.”

About a third of the catch of all European fishing fleets is from British waters. The industry estimates that a loss of access would lead to a reduction of about 50 percent in European fleets’ net profit and the loss of 6,000 full-time jobs.