On Global Trade & Investment
Published Three Times a Week (with occasional bonus quotes) by
The Global Business Dialogue, Inc.
Washington, DC  20006
No. 77 of 2020

Click HERE for Friday's "No-Deal" Brexit quote from Boris Johnson.


"On average, a fish in the North Sea crosses five territorial waters frontiers every day."

Denis MacShane
October 5, 2020 (Publication date)
Fishing and fishing rights loom large in the discussion of the UK’s future relationship with the European Union. At times they seem to dominate it, together, of course, with the politicians responsible for fashioning whatever comes next. They include Boris Johnson, Ursula von der Leyen, David Frost, Angela Merkel, and, perhaps the loudest voice on fish, Emmanuel Macron of France.

We suggest they might all profit from reading Denis MacShane’s October 5 piece in The Article, which was the source for today’s quote. Mr. Macshane is a British author and commentator as well as a retired Member of Parliament. More than that, he served in Tony Blair’s government as Minister of State for Europe from 2002 to 2005. Here is more from the paragraph with today’s featured quote, and a little beyond that:

On average, a fish in the North Sea crosses five territorial waters frontiers every day. They don’t have passports or face quarantine.

The border crossing comment not only got our attention but got us wondering, how does he know that? We are not doubting him, we just wonder. Besides, for us, there were more interesting paragraphs further on, and none more so than this:

Does a new fish war with France, the Netherlands, and Spain now loom? The problem arises partly from the 1982 UN Law of the Sea convention which extended territorial waters out to 200 km. [sic.]* Previously the seas British and French trawlers had shared for centuries did not have a national flag over them.
We found Mr. MacShane’s article engaging, informative, and helpful. You will want to read it for yourself. (It is the first of the links below.) In addition to the virtues we have already noted, it brings out two other things which seem to us not just helpful but crucial to an understanding – and hopefully a resolution – of the UK-EU fisheries crises. The first of these is that, from net to table, the UK and the EU are part of the same fishing economy. Forget for a moment the fish caught in UK waters by French (or Dutch or Spanish) fishermen, and consider simply the fact that so much of the fish landed in the UK are quickly sold to continental buyers. Another valuable element of Mr. Macshane’s article is that it points to solutions, as when he writes that “the British proposal for a three-year continuation of the existing status quo is a start.” 


We’ll wrap up today’s entry, first, with an observation that is not strictly, well, not exclusively, about Brexit and then with a bit of fun. As for the observation, our entry on October 14 talked about the large Chinese fishing fleet operating in the Eastern Pacific. In essence, that was yet another report about the global scramble for natural resources, in this case fish. That’s less the case in the Brexit fish battle. Yes, there is competition as to which fishermen get to catch them, but the consumers are likely to be the same whether the fishermen are French or British. No, the Brexit fish battle is really about votes – votes that Macron needs for the upcoming French presidential election in 2022 – and votes that Johnson just needs.

Webster is a small town in south central Massachusetts – east of Springfield, West of Boston, and just south of Worcester. It was named after the great orator and former Secretary of State, Daniel Webster (arguably, Dartmouth’s most famous son). Our concern, however, is not with the town but with the lake just to the east of it. Sometime referred to as Webster Lake, it is even more famous as:

That’s the longest place name in the United States. It’s an Algonquian word, often translated:

“You fish on your side; I’ll fish on my side; and nobody fish in the middle.”

On Fish and Borders is a link to “Will Britain lose another fishing war? By Denis Macshane, which was the source for today’s featured quote.

*200 km. Our guess is that this is a typo in the Macshane and that the reference should be to nautical miles rather than to kilometers. EEZ is a link to the Wikipedia enter in Exclusive Economic Zones, which clearly references nautical miles.

Chinese Fishing Fleet is a link to the October 14 TTALK Quote, which focused on China’s fishing fleets off the coast of Ecuador and Peru.

Prictures. A School of Jack Mackerel is by by Richard Ling from Flickr, available on Wikipedia. A Town Bridge, above, is by Sensboston and available on Wikimedia Commons. 
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