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How will Brexit affect the Spanish fisheries industry?

Various elements of the Spanish fishing fleet operate in waters under the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom. In addition, Spanish capital investments have been made in UK companies in this industry. All of these would be affected, to a greater or lesser extent, by Brexit.

The fish farming sector represents a small proportion of Spanish trade with the United Kingdom, and therefore alternative markets for supply and export could readily be found.

The ultimate goal for the fishing sector is to maintain a relationship with the United Kingdom that is as close as possible to the current situation, that is, to maintain the status quo.

If there is an agreement, the EU fleet and the UK fleet will continue to have mutual access to their respective fishing grounds. During the transition period, the European Union and the United Kingdom will negotiate the conditions of access to these waters and the markets that will come into force after 31 December 2020 or following the date established in any extension agreed upon.

If there is no agreement, the EU fleet must leave the waters of the United Kingdom and the UK fleet (including Spanish-owned boats) will have to leave EU waters.

In the latter case, under Regulation (EU) No. 508/2014, on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, financial assistance may be provided to compensate for a temporary cessation of activity by the boats affected, for a maximum period of nine months

Further information about this proposal can be found at the following link: European Maritime and Fisheries Fund

Will Spanish boats be able to continue fishing in UK waters?

If there is an agreement, in principle fishing can continue as before in UK waters, at least until 31 December 2020.

If there is no agreement, Spanish boats will no longer be able to operate in waters under the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom from withdrawal date.

In either situation, a fisheries agreement will be negotiated with the aim of enabling Spanish boats to continue fishing in UK waters from the moment at which this would not otherwise be possible.

However, to address the case of a no-deal Brexit, Regulation (EU) 2017/2403 on the sustainable management of external fishing fleets has been amended to allow EU vessels to continue fishing in UK waters (and vice versa). This amendment to the Regulation also ensures that the quota transfers (swaps) normally carried out each year between EU Member States and the United Kingdom can continue to be performed without hindrance.

Further information about this proposal can be found at the following link: Fishing authorisations

Will it be possible to use ports in the United Kingdom for landings?

With the Withdrawal Agreement, it will be possible to continue using them under the same conditions until 31 December 2020.

Without the Withdrawal Agreement, the United Kingdom will treat ships from the European Union as third-country ships for access to its ports.

How will Brexit affect fishing quotas?

For 2019, the quotas already adopted will apply, whether or not the withdrawal agreement has been ratified.

If there is an agreement, the quotas that are adopted in the European Union will also be applied to the United Kingdom in 2020.

If there is no agreement, from 2020 fishing quotas will be negotiated within the European Union as usual, and as with other third countries, the quotas that are jointly managed with the United Kingdom will be negotiated.

At the same time, a fisheries agreement must be negotiated with the United Kingdom to establish, among other matters, the quotas that correspond to each party and the system of access to the fishing grounds of the UK and of the EU.

Will British fishermen follow the same rules as fishermen in the European Union?

With a Withdrawal Agreement, fishermen in the United Kingdom will continue participating in the Common Fisheries Policy and respecting its rules and obligations until the end of the transition period (in principle, on 31 December 2020).

In the agreement governing future relations, European and Spanish negotiators will be very careful to ensure no situations of unfair competition in terms of the regulations on which the United Kingdom may decide and will adopt the necessary measures where appropriate.

Without a Withdrawal Agreement, regulations may vary to a lesser or greater extent depending on the decisions adopted by the authorities in the United Kingdom. In the event of a dispute, the European institutions and the Government of Spain will seek to protect the interests of European citizens, especially those engaged in the fisheries sector.

How will Brexit affect subsidies from the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) in Spain?

With a Withdrawal Agreement, the United Kingdom will need to comply with all its financial obligations under its commitments to the current Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020, which includes the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF). Therefore, Brexit should not have any effect whatsoever on the subsidies in Spain during this period.

After that, the subsidies corresponding to the CFP in Spain will depend on the agreements reached between the remaining 27 Member States for the future Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027.

Without a Withdrawal Agreement, before the withdrawal date, a significant budgetary dispute would arise between the European Union and the United Kingdom, which could affect the implementation of the last financial years of the current Financial Framework and the design of the future one (2021-2027). European Union and Spanish institutions should address this issue and its consequences, and take appropriate decisions in this regard, in order to safeguard the interests of beneficiaries of the Common Policies, especially the CAP, as far as possible.

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