Goodbye, Fish and Chips? | Close up - The Current Affairs Documentary | DW | 15.04.2019

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Goodbye, Fish and Chips?

Most British fishers support Brexit, which could prompt France to ban the UK’s fish imports. The fishers are some of the UK’s strongest Brexit supporters - but if the UK pushes the French out of its waters, France may ban imports of British fish.

Watch video 28:36

This would imply that Britons may have to find the cod for their "fish and chips” somewhere else. Britain's fishing industry is just a small part of the national economy, but it's already been hit by big Brexit waves. British fishers are some of the country's strongest Brexit supporters -- but there’s a catch. Steve Barrat is a commercial fisher from Ramsgate, on Britain's southeast coast. Three years ago, he and some colleagues sailed up the Thames River to call attention to their demand for a hard Brexit. Barratt says that this will give Britain control over its territorial waters once again: "When we sign a contract, the EU won't have anything to say about it. We've got to leave. It's the best thing for us." Barrat still hopes that the UK will pull out of the European Union. He's tired of all the paperwork, and fishers from other EU countries stealing his catch. But as the Brexit process grinds toward conclusion, Barratt is worried that his dreams of independence from Europe may not come true. He feels betrayed by those who are negotiating post-Brexit fishing rights. Of course, he wants to be able to sell his catch to France -- where some of his relatives live. But if Britain pushes the French out of its waters, France may ban imports of British fish. Three-quarters of Britain's catch is exported to EU countries, and a boycott would have devastating consequences. Europe will continue to demand access to British fishing grounds. Werner Kuhn, a German MEP, points out that Britain's access to European markets should depend on European access to British waters. Kuhn represents a district that's located on the Baltic coast, so this is an important issue for him. At the same time, Britain imports much of the fish that it eats -- especially tuna and cod. Those imports could be hit hard if the UK bans EU fishing boats from its waters -- and Britons may have to find the cod for their beloved "fish and chips" somewhere else.