The UK has announced it is pulling out of an agreement that lets foreign boats fish in UK waters.
ClientEarth consultant Dr Tom West said: “Although this was a promise in the Conservative manifesto, triggering withdrawal from the London Fisheries Convention (LFC) so soon seems to be a very aggressive negotiating tactic by Michael Gove and gives us a worrying first glimpse of what the UK’s future fisheries policy will look like.
“As a country outside the EU we need to consider how we can best co-operate with our neighbours rather than unilaterally withdrawing from all agreements in the hope that standing alone will make us better. Many fish stocks in UK waters are shared with our neighbours and so need co-operation and shared management.
“While Mr Gove talks about regaining control of fishing access and becoming responsible for fisheries management, he also needs to ensure we have strong laws which protect marine wildlife. That means laws that require effective management of the UK’s Marine Protected Areas, which protect marine life as well as fish habitats, along the same lines as the EU-derived rules currently in force.
“Withdrawing from the LFC and the Common Fisheries Policy without any sign so far of what will replace them, is risking a rowing back on hard won environmental protections over the last 40 years.”