Nearly six tonnes of fish in four days of fishing is the fruitful booty of these sailors from Ostend in Belgium. Every week, they sail off the coast of England. On the docks, the prospect of a Brexit that would deny Europeans access to British waters is causing great concern. To fish further on, bigger boats would be needed, “we are too small“, said Henk Ven de Skuiter, vice-captain of Alles Wisselt.

In the two biggest auctions in Belgium, in Ostend and Zeebrugge, 15,000 tonnes of fish pass through each year, and 80% comes from British waters. Belgium, with its coastline of 67 kilometers, as recalled by auction manager Sylvie Becaus, is not in a position to free itself from this fishing area. Even if agreed, the consequences could be dire, as some ships unload directly in England before a lorry relay. Transport times would be greatly lengthened… and delivery of lower quality. 4,200 jobs depend directly on fishing in Belgium. The negotiations are for the moment at a standstill.

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