Fish in the frame as UK leaves EU

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Kuyk: ‘If we don’t have a market to sell it into, we don’t have a gain for UK fishermen’
Kuyk: ‘If we don’t have a market to sell it into, we don’t have a gain for UK fishermen’

Related tags: Meat & Seafood

UK-based fish processors are pushing for the Government to close trade deals with countries outside the UK, such as Norway and Iceland, as negotiations with the EU and UK are set to heat up over fishing rights.

Andrew Kuyk, Provision Trade Federation director general, said the majority of processors’ raw materials were imported, which would be in the control of the UK Government.

Most of that is not even imported from the EU, but Norway and Iceland, and we would expect the Government to do deals with them and others to enable that to continue,”​ he explained.

Heated debate

However, there is likely to be heated debate from both sides on wider fishing issues, including fishing rights. The EU has said it wants a new agreement to be similar to current quotas, while the UK, which will become a coastal state after the transition period, has said the details of the deal are up for discussion.

Concerns have been raised that the EU will try to link the fishing rights negotiation to its post-Brexit trade deal with the UK.

Reliance on exports

One of the main issues is the UK’s reliance on fish exports to the EU. “If we don’t have a market to sell it into, we don’t have a gain for UK fishermen,”​ added Kuyk. 

Meanwhile, Barrie Deas chief executive of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations, said: “Fishing has a very high political profile and it would be difficult for the Government to come back from any negotiations to say they had sold fishing out.”

He claimed the UK had leverage as the EU fleet fishes six times more in UK waters than the UK fleet in EU waters.

Related topics: Supply Chain, Meat, poultry & seafood

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