Project Fear – Investment Bank Suggests Govt Would Tariff Our Own Fish & Chips…

Fishing for Leave feel we must lambast the recent research “Fishing for Answers II”  from investment bank Rabobank regards fisheries tariffs post-Brexit – it is absolute piffle!

The report cites that Tariffs placed on imports of the UK’s most popular seafood would range between 7.5% to 18% in the event of a hard Brexit which “would likely see Britain’s fish and chip shops increase consumer prices to cover their own rising costs.”

There are two major flaws –

  • Why in the Lords name would the UK impose tariffs on necessary Cod imports from Norway, Iceland and Faroe if we are free to control our own trade policy which is a crucial part of leaving the EU?
  • What could possibly lead to an increase in UK catches to supply our own markets… leaving the CFP and taking back control a fair share of our resources based on the predominance of fish in UK waters!

As part of the EU the UK receives only 9% of English channel Cod catch limits when based on most catches being in British waters it should be around 70%.

Leaving the CFP would see Britain free to reclaim 3,683 tons of Cod – equivalent to some 11 million fish suppers –  worth approx. £8million as catches and around £32million when processed and in the shops – based on catch distribution and 2018 resource limits and prices.

These are now healthy and certified sustainable achieved through British fishermen’s own conservation measures, despite the EUs ineptitude and failed quota system which is far out of line with stock abundance and which forces fishermen to discard half their catches whilst trying to find what they are allowed to keep.

The discard rate is approximately 40% (approx. 14,000tons of Cod) due to this shamefully inept quota system.

Britain being free to implement her own more sustainable discard free policy would allow much of this fish to be landed.

Repatriating our resources and fit-for-purpose management could comfortably see British cod catches double to around 35,000 tons – around 100million portions of fish – worth approximately £72million as catches and £300m processed.

The national federation of fish fryers estimate Britons consume some 167 million portions of fish and chips from their shops annually. Even if this were all cod, Brexit could see the British industry able to supply 60%, instead of 30% currently – and this is before we account for haddocks, writings and hake we have in abundance.

Sadly, the Transition deal not only kicks this prize into the long grass but the incoming 2019 EU discard ban  only addresses the discard symptom not the quota cause.

The EU could demand full enforcement of this ban during the transition and the requirement that vessels cease fishing on exhausting their lowest quota could bankrupt over half of what is left of Britain’s fleet.

The huge demand for Cod and chips was built when Britain could access the hugely rich and abundant Northern cod fisheries before our Nordic neighbours “took back control” with 200mile Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) being established in the 1970s, whilst Britain forfeited and sacrificed these rights to the EU.

Domestic demand for our cod as part of our national dish has and always will surpass our comparatively small stocks around the British isles but taking back control can substantially boost domestic supply.

The idea that any British government would freely punish consumers enjoyment of our national dish by applying an 18% tariff on supplementary imports of cod from our cod rich Nordic neighbours is nonsense.

This is nothing more than remain minded academics trying to manipulate facts to fit a remain theory rather than building a theory of the future on facts.

Project fear miserably failed before and it doesn’t look like it is doing itself or its proponents credibility many more favours now!