Media statement: 3 December 2020

EU-UK Fisheries Agreement: No time to lose, say legal experts

Time is running out for the EU and UK to reach an agreement on fisheries. In the absence of meaningful developments, a no-deal outcome and potential return to the ‘mackerel wars’ looms.

ClientEarth legal experts say the EU-UK fisheries agreement is a vital chance to protect fish populations in shared waters and restore our depleted marine environments.

ClientEarth lawyer Sarah Denman said:

“It is critical that an agreement is reached. It should commit the EU and UK to negotiate fishing quotas to ensure the sustainability of shared fish populations.

“Sustainable management of fish populations is proven to increase their resilience to the impacts of climate change. This helps bring environmental, social and economic benefits to fishing communities.

“Failure to reach an agreement would have serious consequences for the health of our oceans. No deal risks a repeat of the ‘mackerel wars’, where countries set their own fishing limits contrary to scientific advice – leading to a decline in precious fish stocks.

“Political posturing does nothing to deliver for our marine environment. We are calling on both the EU and the UK to work quickly to reach an agreement and protect our oceans.”

If a deal is not reached, it would be a crushing blow for more sustainable fisheries. Lack of collaboration has a proven history of making overfishing worse.


About ClientEarth

ClientEarth is a charity that uses the power of the law to protect people and the planet. We are international lawyers finding practical solutions for the world’s biggest environmental challenges. We are fighting climate change, protecting oceans and wildlife, making forest governance stronger, greening energy, making business more responsible and pushing for government transparency. We believe the law is a tool for positive change. From our offices in London, Brussels, Warsaw, Berlin and Beijing, we work on laws throughout their lifetime, from the earliest stages to implementation. And when those laws are broken, we go to court to enforce them.