After We Leave - UK Fisheries: Righting the Wrong (PDF 227KB)
Publish Date: 21 December 2018
A consultation document launched by the Democratic Unionist Party to shape policy on UK Fisheries after the United Kingdom leaves the EU.
There is recognition across those who supported Leave and Remain that an industry that did not flourish under our membership of the European Union was fisheries and the coastal areas this industry contributes to. Heath’s last minute concession on fisheries to join the European Economic Community left a political and ultimately economic wound. His decision stands in stark contrast to the Norway’s who baulked at such proposals and one of the key reasons that they remain outside the European Union to this day.
There is a common desire to right these wrongs and even the dubious government economic assessments identify fishing as an industry that can flourish under multiple scenarios. Some point out that the overall impact of a renewal of fishing will have limited national economic impact but its true value is the localised and regional improvements it could deliver in key coastal areas.
Presently, 58% of the fish and shellfish caught in the Exclusive Economic Zone are caught by non-UK EU boats with the UK share of some species being as low as 9% of the total weight of catch. This makes clear the fundamental imbalances against the UK industry under the Common Fisheries policy because of their supposed principle of ‘equal access’ that must end after we leave.
The richness of our commercial fishing species is the strength in negotiations with the EU and any trade-offs must have a demonstrable benefit for the UK fishing industry. The issue of fisheries should be treated as a distinct field and not one for trade off. The transition agreement did not deliver for the UK fishing industry but the end state is the ultimate prize.