Well it didn't seem like you were.
In response to mrmhead saying that "it sounds like the French don't have any grounds to claim continued fishing in UK waters without an agreement" you replied with "I don't know if I'd go so far as to say they don't have any grounds. A particular practice has been common with the UK that has muddied the debate a bit". The simple reality is that under international LAW the French have NO legal right to fish in the UK's EEZ without the permission of the UK. This is not a matter for debate. It's straightforward. The waters aren't muddied, they are crystal clear.
Correct, legally they can do whatever they like come exit. I never said otherwise. The only thing I said was that I wouldn't go so far as to say the French have no grounds to claim access. We could theoretically argue that the French (and others) bought access when they bought the quotas. We don't really know what was actually in all of those contracts so who can say?
Put differently, let's think back to our conversations about the nature of democracy. You argued how a great many things SHOULD work in a democracy. I never challenged that, nor did I say that you have no grounds to believe in them. I only said that it's not how it currently works. Let's take your stance here and apply it to that conversation.
Legally speaking, the UK has a republic in which representatives vote in place of their constituents on various issues. Typically, they vote based on their own re-election chances, but that's not necessarily always the case. It is not illegal for a representative to vote counter to their constituencies wishes. It is not illegal for a representative to make closed door deals out of the public eye. Would we say that a constituency who has a representative that does these things has no grounds to call for that representative to be ousted? Legally speaking, such a representative would be in the right, after all.
You also said "it seems like a lot of these 'traditions' both in the UK system and the wider EU one were never codified into actual law. That it was just assumed that such traditions would exist in perpetuity." That simply is not true. Fishing in the UK's EEZ has been covered by both EU LAW and international LAW. Re EU law, it was always understood that EU law would naturally only apply to fishing in the UK's EEZ for as long as the UK was a part of the EU.
If it was not assumed that such things would exist in perpetuity then why is there no ordered process to dictate how everything falls in the event that it ends? Surely if there is money changing hands between citizens, then the question of government intervention that can end them should be an important question, right?
Further on you said "Now that those traditions have come into question, it's presented an odd sort of legal discussion on the practices based on them." Well it hasnt. The applicable international LAW is unambiguous.
Which in itself assumes that things like agreements over fishing rights never occurred before the EU, or are no longer applicable.
You went on to say "For instance, as Jennifer says, lots of the fishing grounds that are within the UK's jurisdiction were traditionally fished by both sides of the channel, but such a tradition doesn't necessarily amount to a valid claim on the area in perpetuity from a legal perspective". The reality is that such a 'tradition' doesn't amount to ANY sort of a legal claim on the area for any period of time, never mind perpetuity. Again, who may or may not have fished where in the days before the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea was enacted is entirely irrelevant. All that matters is what the relevant international law states, and that law categorically bans any nation from fishing in the EEZ of any other nation's EEZ without their permission. This is pretty black and white.
If that's the way you and they want to go, then more power to ya, but what that effectively means is that the government can decide to pull the rug out from under any fishing endeavor just because it says so and the lost capital just disappears into the UK economy. If we interpret these laws as 'black and white', then a conniving government experiencing money shortfalls could effectively sell quotas to other companies only to turn around and deny them access to the waters where those quotas are worthwhile.
If we are going to argue that the quotas don't amount to consent of access, then the value of any future quotas the UK might wish to sell could vary wildly in price.
Finally you said " I've never really understood the entire areas seeming deference to tradition without codifying them into law. Failing to do so seems, to me at least, have created a lot of misunderstanding and resentment". Well we were discussing whether or not French vessels could fish in the UK's EEZ without permission. This is a matter that is subject to international LAW and, until January 1st next year, by EU law. So fishing rights within the UK's EEZ has been codified into law and i don't know why you would say otherwise. Oh, and yes there may be some resentment, but there is certainly no misunderstanding.
Yes that may have been what WE were talking about. If you'll remember however, the things that you're pulling from this quote and several others were not directed at THIS discussion in particular. If it was, I would have quoted it and talked about in those terms. A lot of them were just more general observations from a bigger picture perspective.
Only they won't be voiding any "agreed contract(s) between private entities" as these contracts were made in the knowledge that they would ONLY apply whilst the UK was a member of the EU. That is, and always has been, a key condition of said contracts. Even back in 2015 the French knew that they could lose their current access to UK waters if the UK chose to leave the EU...which of course they did.
Was that an implicit or explicit understanding? Was it written in the documents themselves, or is it an assumed outcome?
Legally the French (and all other nations) have NO claim whatsoever re fishing in the UK's EEZ. That is the very simple legal reality. Again, specific companies were granted access to the UK's EEZ under EU law. This law only applies to member states. If a country leaves the EU then they are not subject to EU law (unless they choose to be). This is no secret to anyone. All contracts made under EU law are made in the knowledge that they shall only apply whilst all parties are subject to EU law. Pretty simple really.
Not a legally incorrect stance by any means, however, looking at it from a different angle, what you (and in affect the UK government) are saying is that 'we reserve the right to grant or revoke access however we please irregardless of how that affects both our own citizens and those of foreign countries'. A stance you, and they, have every right to take. However, doing so could potentially devalue the worth of those quotas heavily. As you said earlier, 'Who would pay for a quota that they can't fish'. If a quota can be rendered worthless so relatively quickly, then what does that mean for the market value of that quota?
Either way, I'm not learned enough in European politics to say WITH CERTAINTY that there are NO agreements still in place that might take precedence over international law.
Of course UK fishermen would lose access to some of the waters they currently fish in the event that the UK government remain true to their word. However, under the current CFP UK fishermen are only allowed to catch 32% of fish caught in the UK's EEZ. The remaining 68% of fish (approx 700,000 tonnes) are caught by non UK vessels. In return, the UK fleet lands about 92,000 tonnes a year from other EU countries’ waters. Looking specifically at France, between 2012-2016 they caught (according to Marine Management Organisation figures) 120,000 tonnes of fish worth £171 million in the UK's EEZ. During this same period the UK only gained £17 million's worth of landing from French waters.
And how much money was injected into the UK economy by the selling of the quotas that created such disparity in the first place? If you want to look at relative gain, then you need to look at more than just the value of the fish caught.
Regardless of that consideration however, as you so helpfully pointed out further on, this isn't really a question about volume or mass gain. It's a question about individual gain. Certain fisheries will be impacted negatively if the EU (or any other country) decides to reciprocate by 'restructuring access'. If it WERE a question of total gain, then the logical solution would be to give even more quotas to the fisheries that can most efficiently handle them (aka one of the bigger ones that already have a lions share of them).
Ultimately, as I have been continually saying for the past 2+ years now, whether the UK chooses to do something or not is no skin of my back either way, but they should understand the risks involved. If the UK fishing industry and the UK people are okay with potentially sacrificing some fisheries to attempt to save or bolster others, then that decision, and those consequences, rest squarely on their shoulders.
That is simply untrue. Yes the UK government can control what happens to their own quota BUT it's the EU, through the CFP, that determines what their quota is in the first place.
A condition for joining the EEC (as it was then) was that the UK opened it's EEZ to member states for the purpose of fishing. They furthermore agreed to the EEC determining quotas, rules, regulations and policies for fishing in the UK's waters.
As previously stated it is the EU through the CFP that set the quotas NOT the UK government. The ONLY reason why the UK government is now in a position to determine what happens in it's own EEZ is because they have left the EU and, come January 1st, will no longer be subject to the authority of the CFP.
Note, the EU control fishing in the UK's EEZ by:
* enacting rules on access to waters – to control which vessels have access to which waters and areas
* fishing effort controls – limiting fishing capacity and vessel usage
* technical measures - regulating gear usage and where and when fishermen can fish.
As an aside the way fishing rights are allocated in the UK needs a significant overhaul. The vast majority of the UK's existing quota is allocated to just 25 businesses which makes it incredibly hard for small, private operators to survive. This needs to be addressed by the UK government if they are serious about helping their fishing communities. Little will change for the ordinary fishermen after December 31 if this issue isnt addressed. All that will happen is that the rich will get richer.
Finally, having a TAC is absolutely necessary. As it is European fisheries are generally in a poor state and have shown little or no sign of recovery over the past 25 years.
You keep jumping around here. Can we stick to one issue at a time, please? Is the problem the existence of quotas, their division based on country, or their division based on company? Is it all three?
If it's the first, that's a sustainability argument that neither of us are really qualified to seriously comment on. If it's the second, then that's an argument against the EU's management system, HOWEVER, as you yourself stated, leaving alone doesn't really change anything for the small fisheries struggling because the quotas are still divided by the UK government the way they are. If it's the third, then that's entirely on the UK government's own head. If it's all 3, then leaving really only addresses the first one, and even then it will only really matter in the end if the UK's own assessments (which they seemingly have yet to do) veer significantly from the EU.