Brexit created “perfect storm” for UK fisheries industry

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Fisheries has released a report outlining the impact Brexit has had on the industry, businesses and livelihoods. The report found that Brexit created a “perfect storm” of extra paperwork, labour shortages and financial difficulties. 

The report laid bare how leaving the EU had hit the UK’s fishing sector particularly hard despite the claim pre-referendum that the fishing sector would prosper post-Brexit.

“Why are we still using the broken quota system the EU put in place now that we are an independent coastal state?” one Shetland fisherman told the APPG, adding that “It has been said by skippers recently that you can catch your year’s quota in one day.”

“Pragmatic, serious efforts to support the fishing industry are required from ministers in order to ensure that coastal communities can continue to thrive into the future,” MP Alistair Carmichael said, calling for “more and better engagement” between the government and fishing sector.

Salmon Scotland, the trade body for the UK’s biggest fresh food export, recently raised concerns about the potential “deterioration in relationships between London and Brussels,” pitting the UK against its biggest trade parter. The comments from Salmon Scotland came amid concerns about the UK government putting Britain “on a collision course with Europe,” leading to a potential trade war.

“The last 18 months have been tough for UK exporters with fresh border checks, extra paperwork and confusion all adding to costs and delays. We, in the Scottish salmon sector, know that only too well given that more salmon is exported from the UK than any other fresh food product,” Salmon Scotland Chief Executive Tavish Scott wrote in his letter to Johnson.

Scottish salmon sales to the EU were worth £372 million in 2021, accounting for 61 percent of global Scottish salmon exports, according to the trade body.