Without quota changes, no deal Brexit will hurt UK fishing industry
Article Date: 2018-07-25
A new briefing paper by the UK Trade Policy Observatory (UKTPO), the independent expert partnership between the University of Sussex and Chatham House, provides an empirical assessment of the possible impact of Brexit on the UK’s fishing industry.
The key findings of the report - produced by University of Sussex senior lecturer in economics Michael Gasiorek and Suzannah Walmsley, fisheries and aquaculture business development manager at leading UK marine environmental consultancy ABPmer - include:
·Without an increase in UK quotas, all current possible Brexit scenarios will lead to declines in output and trade for the UK fishing fleet because of increased tariffs and non-tariff measures, including potentially increased food safety checks or paperwork, with the EU market.
·Successfully renegotiating quota levels, to be more reflective of fish distribution in national waters - rather than historic fishing patterns which heavily influence current quotas - could see the amount of fish UK fleets can take from their waters more than double in the case of some species such as herring.
·The improved access to other markets from Brexit will not compensate for the loss of tariff-free access to the EU where the UK currently exports more than 80% of its cod, crab, hake, Nephrops, saithe and scallops.
·A no-deal Brexit without quota changes would hit the UK fishing industry by causing a drop in output, exports and imports. This would cause an increase in prices for all ten biggest-selling fish species by as much as 6.2% (in the case of Haddock) and a decrease in export by as much as 15.8% (in the case of Hake).
·The UK could reap significant benefits from taking back control of its waters, but if that is achieved at the expense of EU fisherman or customers, then the UK can expect retaliatory behaviour in other sectors or calls for compensation.
Dr Michael Gasiorek, a senior lecturer in economics at the University of Sussex and a Fellow of the UKTPO, said: "The fishing industry was very much to the fore of the Brexit campaign and Government ministers continue to make confident promises of taking back control of UK waters. The reality is that fisheries is one of the EU’s most complex and politicised policy areas and the Government will find it extremely difficult to reach an agreement with the EU. Changing the current unfavourable quota system will be key in this, but will meet significant resistance from the EU. A no deal Brexit with all quotas determined by zonal allocation would have a huge boost on the UK fishing fleet but its corresponding negative impact on the EU fishing fleet means that UK negotiators will face an extremely difficult challenge to reel this in.”
To view or download the briefing paper please click on the following link.