Brexit plunges EU fishing into troubled waters

A sail boat passes a large commercial vessel as it enters the harbor at The Headland area of Hartlepool, northern England on March 8, 2017. EU fishing fleets are increasingly anxious about their future access to teeming British waters as Britain prepares to trigger the two-year countdown to its exit from the bloc. (AFP / OLI SCARFF)
Updated 26 March 2017
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Brexit plunges EU fishing into troubled waters

BRUSSELS, Belgium: EU fishing fleets are increasingly anxious about their future access to teeming British waters as Britain prepares to trigger the two-year countdown to its exit from the bloc.
Fleets from nine EU countries including France, Germany and Spain have banded together in a newly-created European Fisheries Alliance, formerly launched at the European Parliament last week, warning of steep losses if divorce proceedings turn bitter.
Alain Vidalies, France’s secretary of state for fisheries, stressed in Paris last week “the importance of preserving fairness between European and British fleets” post-Brexit.
European fleets obtain one-third of their catch in the exclusive economic zone around the British Isles, and loss of access to those waters could cut their profits in half in the short term, the fishing alliance says.
In the long term, EU fleets could lose a combined 500 to 600 vessels if they were excluded from British waters, representing 15 percent of the total, and up to 3,000 fleet jobs.
Industry officials are pressing for negotiations on Britain’s post-Brexit future to include continued access to British waters.
“If you don’t want to pay 30 percent tariffs you will have to negotiate. Negotiations should be tied to access to the market,” Ivan Lopez Van der Veen, who represents the Spanish fishing association Pesquera Ancora, said at the EU Parliament last week.
Non-British EU vessels currently land almost eight times more fish and shellfish by weight from British waters than UK boats, or almost five times more by value, said Ian Napier, senior policy adviser at the NAFC Marine Center, based on Scotlands’ Shetland Islands.
From 2011 to 2015, European fleets caught 700,000 tons of fish and seafood in British waters, valued at about 530 million pounds (612 million euros, $660 million), the NAFC said in a report published in January.
British vessels, by contrast, caught just 92,000 tons, valued at 110 million pounds, in other EU waters.
And the European Fisheries Alliance notes that Britain cannot eat all the salmon, lobster, scallops and other fish and seafood its boats produce: about 70 percent of production, worth a billion euros a year, is exported to its European partners.
Despite this, a UK parliament White Paper published in December found that the majority of fish consumed in Britain are imported.
“Continued access to free, or preferential, trade in fish and seafood will therefore be crucial for the seafood industry and UK consumers” after Brexit, the paper said.
And depending on whether Britain negotiates a “hard” or “soft” exit, the viability of dozens of fishing centers, from Concarneau in France and Rostock in Germany to Galway in Ireland or Gdansk in Poland, could be at stake.
But others say that leaving the EU would give Britain a chance to revive homegrown fleets.
“Brexit is an opportunity for the UK to revitalize its fishing industry, stabilize threatened ecosystems and create thousands of new jobs,” said Lasse Gustavsson, executive director in Europe for Oceana, an environmental advocacy group.
“But this will only happen if overfishing is stopped.”


Kashmiri Muslims evicted, threatened after deadly attack on Indian forces

Indian protesters try to push their way through policemen guarding an injured man who had been attacked after a mob believed he was a Kashmiri who had shouted pro-Pakistan slogans, in New Delhi on February 17, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 32 min 44 sec ago
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Kashmiri Muslims evicted, threatened after deadly attack on Indian forces

  • Kashmiri Muslims say they are facing a backlash in Hindu-majority India mainly in the northern states of Haryana and Uttarakhand

SRINAGAR: India has warned against rising communal tensions across the country as some Kashmiris living outside their state said they faced property evictions while others were attacked on social media after a suicide bomber killed 44 policemen in the region.
The car bomb attack on a security convoy on Thursday, claimed by Pakistan-based Islamist militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad and carried out by a 20-year-old Kashmiri man, was the worst in decades of insurgency in the disputed area, which is claimed in full by both the nuclear-armed neighbors.
As the bodies of the paramilitary policemen who died in the attack were returned to families across India this weekend, passionate crowds waving the Indian flag gathered in the streets to honor them and shouted demands for revenge. Pakistan has denied any role in the killings.
Kashmiri Muslims, meanwhile, say they are facing a backlash in Hindu-majority India, mainly in the northern states of Haryana and Uttarakhand, forcing the federal interior ministry to issue an advisory to all states.
“The ministry has taken a stringent view and has issued an advisory to all states and union territories to ensure safety and security of Kashmiris, and to maintain communal harmony,” A. Bharat Bhushan Babu, a spokesman for the ministry, told Reuters on Sunday.
Aqib Ahmad, a Kashmiri student in Uttarakhand capital Dehradun, said the owner of the house he was staying in had asked him to move out fearing an attack on his property. Two other students in Dehradun said they also had been asked to vacate their rooms.
“Where are we supposed to go?” Waseem Akram told Reuters.
The Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) state administration late on Sunday advised students from the state to reach out to liaison officers across six regions of the country in case of any problems. It said 104 students who were staying in private accommodation in the Haryana district of Ambala had been moved to hostels of a university guarded by police.
It said some Kashmiri students from Dehradun reached New Delhi on Saturday evening and had been accommodated in J&K’s guest house in the national capital.
“The state administration assures people of J&K that due cognizance is being taken for each and every call from the students and their parents, and local administration is being apprised of the developing situation,” its statement said.
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said “no incident of beating or harassment of Kashmiri students has been reported anywhere in the state.”
“I’m making it clear that law-breakers, including rumor mongers, will not be spared either,” Rawat said in a tweet.
The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), to which all the dead officers belonged, said “fake news about harassment of students from Kashmir is being propagated by various miscreants on social media.”
“CRPF helpline has enquired about complaints about harassment and found them incorrect,” it said on Twitter.
J&K police said they were providing temporary accommodation to people returning from around the country.

“TRAITOR“
Fear has engulfed Kashmiri students in Ambala after a video on social media showed a village headman asking people to evict Kashmiri students in the area.
“In case it is not done, the person in whose residence such students are living will be considered as a traitor,” the man says in the video, whose authenticity Reuters has not been able to independently verify.
Police said they were investigating the matter.
The attack on India’s paramilitary police follows the deadliest year in Kashmir for security personnel since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party came to power nearly five years ago.
Thousands of people, including militants and civilians, have died since the insurgency began in late 1980s.
Political leaders from Kashmir appealed to the government to ensure security of Kashmiris across India, while many people on Twitter said their homes were open to Kashmiris seeking shelter.
“Understand the pain and anguish,” Mehbooba Mufti, former chief minister of J&K, said in a tweet. “But we must not allow such mischievous elements to use this as an excuse to persecute/harass people from J&K. Why should they suffer for somebody else’s action?”