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Fishing negotiations: Expert comment

Professor Abhinay Muthoo comments on the latest in the discussion between France and the UK over fishing rights.

He said:

“It has been announced that last-ditch talks will take place this week to help resolve the fishing dispute between the UK and France. Tensions over fishing rights have been simmering for months, and the dispute has escalated with threats and counter-threats.

“This is a classic game of chicken being played out, between France and the UK. Interestingly, both sides seem to agree that at least 90% of the fishing licenses – as per the Brexit agreement – have been granted by the UK to EU’s fishing vessels. But the remaining 10% appear to be for French boats only – hence the focus on this issue by France.

“Indeed, this fishing dispute is much more than just about fish. It is about power display, in a post Brexit world. The threats and counter-threats are part of the two parties’ negotiating tactics, and aimed substantively for their respective domestic audiences. I expect the outstanding issues, and this dispute, will be resolved soon, but probably only after further posturing, threats and the like. But hopefully, as I expect, none of these will be implemented by what at the core are two good neighbours.”

2 November 2021


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