Realist, not conformist analysis of the latest financial, business and political news

The Brexit Threat To Fish And Chips

This is not in fact a threat from Brexit to that British staple, fish and chips. Fish and chips isn’t really even British, it’s an import deriving from Jewish settlers a century and back. Perhaps the only major Jewish contribution to the British cuisine in fact – unlike the US we don’t go great on pastrami and Hebrew Nationals.

What this really is is bandwagon jumping. Stick a Brexit bit on a story these days and get some coverage.

The background here is that EU membership means that the fishing waters off Britain are a common European resource. Brexit will mean they’re not, they become British again. We decide who gets to fish here. You know, like Norway does. One of the major reasons Norway hasn’t and likely won’t join the EU being control of those fishing waters.

But still, newspaper coverage:

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] Kirkella has 60 crew and brings the equivalent of 17 million fish suppers back to Hull annually. UK Fisheries, its owner, is calling for an outcome that “protects British fish and chips, protects our business, protects our industry, protects the jobs, protects the boat”. Sir Barney White-Spunner, chairman of its advisory board, said: “It’s for British people to be able to continue to eat British fish, caught by British fishermen and landed in British ports. We don’t want to end up in a position where we’re excluded in Norwegian waters and we have to import all our cod and haddock.” [/perfectpullquote]

Yes, they’re arguing that we must be able to fish in Norwegian waters post-Brexit in order to continue to have British fish and chips. Made from British fish – those caught in Norwegian waters.

There’s something about Brexit that is turning normal basic logic into drivel, isn’t there?

As to the actual point at issue. If we in Britain want to have access to Norwegian waters then post-Brexit we can just pick up the phone to Oslo and ask them. Maybe they’ll say yes, maybe they won’t, but it’ll be a heck of a lot easier than garnering the support of 27 other nations before routing the call through Brussels, won’t it?

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ian parkinson
ian parkinson
2 years ago

There are two ways to fish: farm (renewable), or strip mine (take everything and move on).

If the UK leaves and fishing reverts to the UK then from the EU side it is rational to switch from farming to strip-mining as that date approaches. I have seen various fragments suggesting that Uk waters are being much more aggressively fished in the run up to march – so there might be a brexit threat to fish and chips, but if so it comes from the EU failing to police its quota system.

Jonathan Harston
Jonathan Harston
2 years ago

Aren’t we already excluded from Norwegian water? Because, Norway isn’t an EU member, so Norwegian waters aren’t common EU waters?

Conversely, if we are allowed into Norwegian waters, those non-EU waters that that non-EU member gets to choose who enters, then that’s because Norway has given permission to us to enter. That won’t change with Brexit, that would only change if Norway chose to change it.

surreptitiousevil
surreptitiousevil
2 years ago

Sir Barney? I wonder what insight his lived experience, Eton, St Andrews (_not_ a fishing port), Household Cavalry etc gives him in to the life of deep sea fishermen?

Quentin Vole
Quentin Vole
2 years ago

One of the major reasons Norway hasn’t and likely won’t join the EU being control of those fishing waters.

Another being Norway’s possession of a substantial sovereign wealth fund, which the Berlaymont would just love to get its sticky little paws on.

Jonathan Harston
Jonathan Harston
2 years ago
Reply to  Quentin Vole

Oo, with all this talk of Bexit Divorce, you’ve made EU membership seem very like pre-1880s marriage – marry me, my dear, and all your assets become my assets (rubs hands).

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