Spain: British boats backed by Spanish capital could keep unloading on Galicia ports

Faced with the possibility for the EU fleet of being kept out of Sole Bank, the Galicia Government has proposed to the National Authorities some measures to shield its fishing activity beyond October, 31.

The United Kingdom’s decision to leave the EU and restrict access to its waters for European fishing vessels could have a huge impact on Spanish fishing operators in the northwestern region of Galicia.

More than two thirds of the Spanish fishing fleet operating in British waters are registered in Galicia: 66 out of 96, according to a study commissioned by the University of Santiago de Compostela titled ‘The economic impact of Brexit on Galician fishing.’

The Galician fleet which fishes in the Sole Bank, a maritime area off Cornwall, could lose €533 million annually based on current catch and revenues, estimates the study. Of 81 sectors linked to fishing in Galicia, half will be affected by the UK’s departure.

Last week, Rosa Quinta, the Regional Minister for Fisheries, has asked Minister Planas for new national legislation including transitional measures in the event of a no-deal scenario.

The objective of the requested regulation is that the fleet of British flag and Galician capital operating on Sole Bank (Fig. 1) continues unloading fish normally in Galician ports after October 31. If this is not possible, Quintana said it would be necessary for the National Government to reinforce the Customs staff and the border inspection posts, in order to avoid the unloading collapse in the ports of Celeiro, Burela, Ribeira, La Coruña and Vigo.

Gran Sol

                                 Fig. 1. Sole  Bank in pink color.

Galicia authorities are also concerned about the situation of Spanish capital fleet and flying under the British flag, which could be affected by logistical problems to fishing unloading in Galicia.  

The UK’s Government just published a report ratifying that, in case there is no agreement, it will expel the EU fleet, warning of illegal fishing sanctions.