Brexit LIVE: Taking back control! UK takes action to protect fish plundered by EU boats

Eustice says UK in ‘final stages’ of fishing quota negotiations

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The UK Government is launching a call for evidence seeking views on potential measures to manage stocks of sandeel and Norway pout in the North Sea. Ministers argue say industrial fishing methods by EU registered vessels are negatively impacting stocks in the North Sea.

Sandeel and pout are a key part of the seafood chain with commercial fish stocks relying on sandeels and Norway pout as a food source.

The lack of supply is causing a decline in species including North Sea cod and haddock.

Fisheries Minister, Victoria Prentis, said: “As an independent coastal state, we can now manage our waters in a way that protects and encourages the recovery of our marine environment and supports the long-term health of our fisheries.

“We are committed to having a world-class, sustainable fishing industry and this call for evidence is an important step to address pressures.”

The Department for Environment for Food and Rural Affairs, who is launching the call for evidence, added: “Without the constraints of the [EU] Common Fisheries Policy, as an independent coastal state the UK Government has the power to look at potential new measures to better protect sandeels.”

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£74 million plan to replace Border Force boats

Ageing Border Force vessels will be replaced by new cutters as part of a £700 million investment to improve the safety of Britain’s borders, the Treasury said.

The current fleet, which is 20 years old, will be retired and 11 new vessels will come into service to help tackle organised crime and illegal migration at a cost of £74 million.

The announcement was made ahead of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s budget and also includes £628 million “to modernise and digitalise the border”, with proposals including a US-style Electronic Travel Authorisation for tourists wishing to come to the UK.

Crunch talks over Protocol to take place in London

Talks are set to continue between the UK and the EU as it was warned the two sides were still far apart on issues surrounding the Northern Ireland Protocol.

UK officials described as “constructive” the first round of talks in Brussels this week, which came after the EU proposed new measures earlier this month.

It is understood that while there was common ground in some areas, there were still substantial gaps on what were seen as fundamental issues mainly surrounding governance.

Sources close to the negotiations said “real progress” must be made soon and a process of “endless negotiation” must be avoided.

But reports over Christmas crackers being delayed by the protocol was “yet another practical example” of the disruption caused by the agreement.

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