In Brief

Brexit talks will decide UK fishing rights, EU says

Michel Barnier derides Michael Gove's plan to 'take back control' of the seas

Questions have been raised about the UK's withdrawal from the London fisheries convention, including whether EU law supersedes UK policy and whether Britain has the capacity to police its own waters.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove announced on Sunday that the UK was "taking back control" of the fishing territory between six and 12 nautical miles from UK coastline, a decision he hailed as an "important moment" for the UK fisheries policy.

However, Michel Barnier, the European Union's chief Brexit negotiator, downplayed Gove's announcement and said EU law supersedes the UK's position.

Others questioned whether the UK has the naval capability to police its own territory. Admiral Lord Alan West, a retired senior officer of the Royal Navy, described the UK plan as "amazingly complacent".

He also warned the country risked becoming a "laughing stock" if it didn't increase the number of vessels needed to police the territory.

The London fisheries convention, signed in 1964, allows vessels from France, Belgium, Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands to fish in waters within six to 12 miles from the UK coast.

The EU Common Fisheries Policy allows all European countries access between 12 and 200 nautical miles of the UK, as well as setting quotas, and some argue it may take precedence over UK law.

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