Fishermen and farmers put Brexit woes to UK and Welsh ministers

Leaders of Welsh fishing, many of them worried they could lose out in the final Brexit deal, have been invited to join representatives of farming and other businesses at talks with UK and Welsh ministers in Cardiff.

Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns from the UK Government and Rural Affairs Secretary Lesley Griffiths from the Welsh Government will be accompanied by a senior official from Defra, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Farming, fisheries and the environment industries are fundamental components of our rural economy and we want to engage with and listen to the industry’s experts as we continue on the journey of exiting the EU.

Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns MP

Much will depend on how close Britain remains to the EU after the transition period, due to last until the end of 2020. There will be a series of votes at Westminster next week on the UK Government's objectives as the Brexit talks reach a crucial stage.

In April, many Welsh fishermen and women gathered in Milford Haven to voice their concern that the UK Government had agreed to EU fishing vessels entering our waters during the transition. That angered members of the fishing fleet who had hoped that Britain would take control of its seas the moment we leave the EU next March.

They're now pushing for Britain to have a fully independent fishing policy after 2020 but during the Brexit negotiations that pressure will have to be weighed against demands to safeguard access to the European market. That's a priority for many businesses who sell to the EU, including farmers and in some cases, fishing enterprises as well.

Brexit brings with it both challenges and opportunities and this is particularly the case for our valued rural economy. That is why it is so important that we engage and listen to partners as we prepare to leave the European Union.

Rural Affairs Secretary Lesley Griffiths AM