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Warnings fired as EU fishing rights talks get under way

Fisheries Council meeting to negotiate quotas for year ahead begins today.

Fishing
On Assignment/ ITV

EU countries have been told not to adopt any "hard-line positions" as the final EU fishing quota talks before Brexit start today.

The Fisheries Council is held in December every year, where EU countries debate and negotiate fishing quotas for the year ahead.

Talks between the European Commission with countries outside the EU such as Norway and the Faroe Islands have already taken place.

They've sparked an angry reaction from some fishing industry leaders with one calling the deal with the Faroe Islands an "utter disgrace".

The UK is due to leave the European Union at the end of March next year.

Ahead of the talks the Scottish Fishermen's Federation warned other EU countries against "vengeful behaviour" at the meeting because of Brexit.

Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the SFF, said: "We're watching very carefully, there has been some indication already in the earlier discussions in coastal states that people have an eye to the future. 

"We have an eye to the future also and if anything goes wrong our remedy is available after Brexit.

"Everyone in the EU needs to look at the future with the idea that the governance will change. 

"The sovereignty over very considerable amounts of the fishing areas and fishing resources will fall to the UK, so everybody ought to be careful."

Although the UK will leave next year it will remain inside the Common Fisheries Policy until the end of 2020.

It means quotas will be decided next December that will impact the UK but it won't be a member state.

Other EU countries, including France have raised concerns over access to UK waters after Brexit.

It's warned that trade tariffs may be placed on seafood produce being exported to the EU if fair access is not granted to its fishing boats.

Mr Armstrong added: "We are well aware of what their ambitions are which is to stay the same, which is absolutely absurd and they're well aware of what our ambitions are which is to look very much more normal as a coastal state.

"None of this is surprising, people will expect us to make noise and we'll expect to hear noise back."

The talks are due to begin in Brussels on Monday and may not be concluded until Wednesday.

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