Flanders Fishing Rights
October 13, 2020 4:19 PM   Subscribe

Flanders holds 1666 charter in reserve to fish in English waters Fishing rights in UK waters remain a stumbling block, but Flemish trawler men can look forward to the ‘sunlit uplands of Brexit’ with more confidence than most thanks to the charter that grants them eternal rights to fish in English waters.
posted by kingless (19 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
[insert Ned Flanders joke here]
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:17 PM on October 13, 2020 [3 favorites]

Londres n'est plus
Que le faubourg de Bruges
Perdu en mer,
Perdu en mer.

posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:31 PM on October 13, 2020 [2 favorites]

A transition period comes to an end at the end of the year and few people know what will happen then.

Nobody knows, but some guesses might turn out to be right.
posted by sjswitzer at 6:01 PM on October 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

From the article, a quote from the Belgian fisheries minister:
"We are keeping this privilege in reserve to point the historical context out to the British. I’ve been told they are very susceptible to this kind of thing."
I'm not 100% certain, but this sure feels like some kind of burn to me.
posted by mhum at 6:12 PM on October 13, 2020 [20 favorites]

In Flanders fjords the flounders grow.

- John McCrae, approximately
posted by allegedly at 6:19 PM on October 13, 2020 [9 favorites]

Stupid Brexy Flanders.
posted by ZaphodB at 6:32 PM on October 13, 2020 [35 favorites]

I've been playing CK3 all afternoon so I assume that the Flanders duchy gained control of this when you were trying to produce an heir via seduction with your wife who despite having 75% fertility mysteriously is not getting pregnant and all your armies were raised against the Swedish (?!) controlled Ireland.
posted by geoff. at 6:44 PM on October 13, 2020 [6 favorites]

From the article:

The privilege banded about on Flemish radio last week was discovered in Bruges archives in 1963. To ensure it was still valid a Bruges alderman set sail for English waters and got himself arrested in the hope a legal battle would confirm the rights of Bruges fishers. No prosecution followed and records released subsequently show that UK fisheries’ officials advised against any prosecution because they feared the 1666 charter could still be valid.

posted by the cydonian at 6:46 PM on October 13, 2020 [15 favorites]

Belgae brush brexit burnishing bargain barrels.
posted by clavdivs at 7:00 PM on October 13, 2020 [2 favorites]

This is (sort of) reminiscent of the time Wallonia got changes written into the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the EU. A number of explainers about what Wallonia is, who the Walloons are, and why they were able to block the deal's approval had to be written for Canadian audiences.

And fair enough. Having a voice in these matters is important for smaller regions and populations. In the case of Flanders, I admire the use of an old charter.

"We had a deal, Boris."
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:40 PM on October 13, 2020 [2 favorites]


Non, Bruges. Nice est en du Sud-Est de la France.
posted by zamboni at 8:08 PM on October 13, 2020 [9 favorites]

Suck it, Walloonians!
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:23 PM on October 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

Mod note: A couple deleted. Sorry, folks, but please think twice about introducing US topics into non-US posts / threads. We have a ton of posts centering on US matters at any given time, but far fewer discussions about other countries, so let's not crowd them out, okay? (If you have a US-centric question related to the topic, Ask Metafilter is a good option for asking about that.)
posted by taz (staff) at 4:51 AM on October 14, 2020 [11 favorites]

Given the principles that no Parliament can bind another, and the Crown-in-Parliament doctrine that Parliament represents the Crown, surely it would just take a regular Act of Parliament to cancel this charter?

AFAIK even if it says it's "perpetual", if a later Parliament says "No it's not perpetual", the principle is that the later Parliament is the one that wins.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 5:09 AM on October 14, 2020

Parliament didn't grand the Privilege, the King did. The grant is "in perpetuity" and, since it respects a foreign power, I don't think it can simply be revoked. States cannot claim defects in their domestic law as a means of avoiding international obligations.
posted by 1adam12 at 6:25 AM on October 14, 2020

In 1666 the English were fighting, and losing, a naval war with the Dutch. Fishing rights were a major point of conflict, as the Dutch dominated the fishing industry and claimed the right to fish in English territorial waters under the doctrine of mare liberum. So the 1666 Fisheries Privilege was almost certainly directed at the Dutch, with the aim of weakening the Dutch fishing industry by exposing it to competition from Bruges. It wasn't a goodwill gesture to the Flemish, it was an aggressive gesture to the Dutch.

That still leaves the question of why the Belgian ambassador decided to bring it up at this particular moment. The British press have largely given up reporting on the Brexit negotiations except when they can be spun into wacky stories like this one. But although you'd hardly know it from the British media, Britain and the EU are getting close to a deal on fishing rights which is being opposed by some of the EU member states. Hence the Belgian ambassador's intervention. The British like to think it's all about them, but actually they are more or less irrelevant to the negotiations at the moment; what really matters are the bilateral talks currently going on between the EU and its member states.
posted by verstegan at 6:33 AM on October 14, 2020 [11 favorites]

This is fascinating and I hope it culminates in a colorful English ritual of state, perhaps something with interpretive dance.
posted by dmh at 8:25 AM on October 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

Here's an article from 1999 about the Bruges Alderman's "invasion" of 1963 , (just after the release of the official records on the incident).

Regarding legislating it away, the view in 1963 was seemed to be that it was possible, just embarrassing:

They advised that if the case went to court the only way out might be new legislation specifically repealing the charter - which would be tantamount to admitting Mr Depaepe had been right all along.
posted by scorbet at 8:34 AM on October 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

Flanders, BE: Trawling.

(also, as someone who reads Scots, this treaty is surprisingly easy to follow.)
posted by scruss at 8:39 AM on October 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

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