POST BREXIT BOOM! – The Robbery of UK Resources

Fishing for Leave have produced a detailed analysis, using software commissioned by the group,  to show catches in UK waters and what the divorce settlement of TACs for every species should be with Brexit.

These figures show the UK could benefit from £6.3 billion economic boost by repatriating UK fisheries

Using catch data from the EU Commission’s STECF fisheries database FFL have collated catches for the UK and EU fleets respectively and whether these catches were taken in UK waters or EU waters.

This report then calculates and details the post Brexit TACs for each species and therefore shows the colossal level of resources that have been robbed from the UK through our membership of the EU.

It graphically illustrates the abject betrayal of the UK coastal communities and the nation by the adherence to the disastrous CFP.

When processing values are considered, the net-to-plate value is worth a colossal £6.3 billion to the UK’s economy!

That’s the equivalent of 6 Type 45 destroyers, 180 new secondary schools or 8 new hospitals

Contrary to some popular misconceptions, catch distribution is an accurate reflection of stock distribution.  EU fishermen do not travel to the UK’s rich fishing grounds for the scenery – they do so due to our rich grounds.

Consequently, this FFL database is an accurate representation of what resources the UK can rightfully claim sovereignty over under the terms of international law and UNCLOS 3

The Nation’s Greatest Renewable Resource

Britain’s internationally recognised EEZ and the UK fishing waters within this of 732,470 km2 is 3 times the size of the UK land mass of 243,610km2.

The UK has some of the richest fishing grounds in the world, the UK EEZ covers 48% of the ICES fishing zones in the North West EU

63% of all catches are being taken in UK waters worth £1.3 billion with the EU taking 59% of all catches within the UK EEZ.

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These fishing waters are the nation’s greatest renewable resource however, they were surrendered and fishing communities regarded as “expendable” by Ted Heath to join the EEC in 1973.

Due to this, the UK has only ever received a share of the international TACs under the EU Quota system. This EU Quota system was established in 1983, with the system of relative stability shares, as a political rather than conservation mechanism to allocate the resources subsumed to EU control.

These shares were created on the back of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) founding principle of ‘equal access to a common resource’.

To add insult to injury the unfit for purpose EU Quota system has been environmentally and economically devastating when applied to the UK’s demersal mixed fisheries being the legislative cause of discards.

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As shown above, the UK only receives a 25% share out of our own resources, however, given the distribution of catches and therefore stocks it should be 61%  when the UK becomes an independent coastal state. This represents a 243% increase in the UK TAC share.

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As shown above, the UK fleet only takes 13% of total catches from EU waters yet the EU fleet takes 59% of total catches from UK waters.

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With the UK only taking 16% of total UK catches from EU waters this small loss is more than offset by the 200% total increase of our own resources when repatriated.”

Although loss of access to EU waters would represent a loss to a small proportion of the UK fleet this would see an adjustment in fishing patterns more than compensated for by the huge amount of resources repatriated.

A National Resource

Reclaiming UK fishing waters should be worth  £6.3 billion to Britain’s coastal communities and economy every year! – equivalent to 6 Type 45 destroyers or 180 new secondary schools.

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This represents a huge hit of adrenaline to fishing communities wrecked by the CFP but which can be revitalised and therefore, Fishing for Leave advocates a resources amnesty.

“We cannot have a continuation of the all for one, none for all attitude within the CFP and the corporatization of fishing rights into the hands of a few”

FFL advocates that All current share outs should be respected for industry financial stability however ALL repatriated resources must go into a government pool to be shared out for the benefit of all fishermen and communities.

Fisheries resources belong to the nation and therefore all future UK entitlements should be demonetarised by the government and only be held by active fishing vessels to end the situation of  industry consolidation, quota rent and slipper skippers.

Brexit provides a golden opportunity to automatically repatriate all the UK’s huge EEZ and the colossal resources within it upon withdrawal. Article 50, as agreed, says the Treaties “shall cease to apply”, and therefore so too will the EU CFP.

The UK will revert to international law giving the UK the right to manage its own fisheries at the UK’s own discretion as the vast majority of other nations do.

Brexit is the chance to reclaim an industry vital for the nation’s food security and to implement fit for purposes UK fishing policy. Allowing the rejuvenation of coastal communities, devastated under the EU CFP, whilst husbanding our resources sustainability.

That is why, to make a diplomatic clean break and be economically viable, the demersal industry must transition to a Days-at-Sea, no quotas and therefore no discards, policy to ensure a future for generations to come.

“Fishing for Leave advocates policy that is neither for the haves or have nots but that takes the whole industry forward together, we cannot squander this chance for a few short-sighted quota holders or slipper skipper interests.”

If the government and a minority in the industry acquiesce to a continuation of the EU mechanism of Quotas, and therefore relative stability share outs, the opportunity to automatically repatriate all the resource detailed above will have been squandered.

The EU will have recourse to claim current shares under international treaty law. The discard ban will thereafter hammer the final nails into the coffin.

That is why Fishing for leave is fighting hard to stop the CFP being adopted in the Great “Repeal” Bill and to see all mechanisms of the CFP scrapped.

If Brexit was about “taking back control of our borders” then fishing is the “acid test” of Brexit!

Fishing could be a beacon of success for the government or an utter betrayal of Brexit.

(The Full Report with Post Brexit TAC shares by species in booklet format can be ordered for the cost of postage from Fishing for Leave at –

FFL Booklet on EU vs UK Catches and Pre and Post Brexit TACs

  • You write: “Catch distribution is an accurate reflection of stock distribution”. This does does not take account of distribution of eggs, larvae and juveniles as they are not fished upon. Fish may reproduce and feed in one area and be fished in another. I invite you to include this in your work. Stock sharing between EU and Norway was done on basis of the Nantes Report (1976) where stock attachment and distribution on a life cycle basis is used. I will refrain from telling the story about the Russian giraffes, that was milked in Russia but foraging in Poland 🙂

  • Clive Fox

    Is the report available as an electronic download?