Blood curdling warnings about how difficult it’s all going to be to sort our British fishing post-Brexit. We’ll have all those waters back, all that fish, but we’ve still got to manage it all somehow. And that will be tough because it’s complex.
OK, it’s complex:
A myth has been propagated by Brexiteers. There is a single “British fishing industry” which will benefit from reclaiming the “60/70/80% of British fish” caught by EU boats. No, there isn’t. There are competing interests. English v Scottish; deep-sea fishing v inshore fishing; industrial v family-scale boats; fishers v processors. Some of the most vibrant, locally important and ecologically respectful parts of the UK industry have nothing to gain and everything to lose from Brexit. They depend on shellfish, lobsters, crabs and langoustines (crayfish) that are quota-free or are overwhelmingly allocated to the UK. More than 80% is sold to the continent (mostly Spain and France). This trade has grown large because of the border-free EU single market.
OK, super. Competing interests. And now for the big question. Are we going to be able to deal with allocating among those competing interests?
Or would we be better off having the central bureaucracy of 28 nations trying to allocate those same resources across the competing interests of and within all those 28 nations?
To even ask the question is to answer it, isn’t it? This before we get to the manner in which at least one of the Fishing Commissioners was from a landlocked country – Austria. And none have been from a North Sea littoral state…..