Boris £4.8bn Fisheries Black Hole

Boris £4.8bn Fisheries Black Hole

  • Level of failure on what the UK should have repatriated exposed.
  • Trade Deal only regains 14% of what the UK should have achieved
  • EU access to UK waters will not change for 5.5 years

The following table reveals the shocking failure of the government to come anywhere close to what the UK should have regained of its own fisheries resources had the UK had left the Transition period (where it continued to obey the CFP) without fishing being compromised as part of a Trade Deal.

British fishing being bartered for a wider trade deal is one of the first times globally that a nation has sacrificed its rightful share of fisheries resources to gain a deal. Norway, Iceland and Faroe sell huge amounts of seafood into the EU market without compromising their independence on fisheries.

The terms of the deal restrict the UKs sovereignty far more than that of Norway, Iceland or Faroe. The effect of the deal is fisheries will be run by a joint EU/UK Committee – with the EU desperate to maintain the status quo which so benefits it -this committee effectively hands the EU a veto over any policy changes regards access to waters or quota shares.

Had the UK defaulted to being an independent coastal state, with complete freedom over access and quota shares, the UK would have moved to quota shares based on the international principle of Zonal Attachment. Where Coastal States receive shares of Total Allowable Catches (TACs) – i.e quotas – based on the predominance of a species in that states waters.   

As the table below shows what the UK should have based on its rich fishing waters is in stark contrast to the shares it currently receives under the CFP mechanism of Relative Stability shares. It is these shares which have proved so egregious in comparison to the level of catches and therefore level of species found in UK waters.

The increase the government has secured in UK share of quotas, which it vaunts as being a successful compromise, are a pittance compared to what should have been. The governments much publicised figure is a gain of 25% slowly achieved over 5.5 years.

The calculation that gives a percentage can be arrived at in many ways – it appears the government is achieving 25% by adding what is regained against what is already held rather than as a percentage of what the UK should have. With the UK on such low shares across nearly all species, any increase will always look good when compared to such a low initial amount

When compared to what should be the case the governments efforts wilt to risibility. The table below/attached exposes in cold hard tonnages how little the UK has actually regained. Tonnages can not be open to dubiety or misrepresentation as percentages can be.

The facts are;

  • The UK currently receives only 23% of the total TACs set for those fisheries waters around the British Isles whith the UK shares with the EU and Norway.  Amounting to 574,123 tons worth £741m based on average UK prices in 2019.
  • Under international law/normality under Zonal Attachment – based on the level of catches of quotas by EU and UK boats in UK waters – the UK should have a share of the TACs equating to 66% of the TAC. Some 1,665,461 tons worth some £2.15bn in catch value. When multiplied by an approximate factor of x4 to reach processed value this would be £8.6bn to British coastal communities – and this before the wider benefit to ancillary industries is accounted for!
  • Shockingly, under the Trade Deal the UK only regains 162,444 tons worth £209m – taking the UK to a total of 736,567tons worth £951m of TAC species.
  • Boris Johnsons government has left the EU with 928,894 tons worth £1.2bn of UK resources it is otherwise not entitled to. Worth approximately £4.8bn to UK coastal communities when processed.
  • The UK is actually only regaining approx. 14% of the TAC shares that EU boats account for in UK waters. This represents approx. 7% of total EU catches in the sea areas around Britain.
  • The UK is only regaining 15% of what it otherwise should.

These raw figures of tonnage and value (unlike the abstract percentages the government is peddling to sell a shocking deal) leave no room to hide for the government. The EU has screamed murder about losing very little. It is a complete capitulation on what should have been achieved on fishing had the UK not sacrificed fishing to being bartered for a trade deal (as agreed in the Withdrawal Agreement & Political Declaration – which outlined the basis that any Trade Deal must follow) and then, despite talking a good game, caved into the EU with merely a token gesture of what should otherwise be UK resources repatriated.

No wonder British fishermen and coastal communities are furious and feel betrayed yet again. As in 1973 British fishing has been bartered for a deal with the EU. Boris has achieved what he said to the House of Commons in July 2019 was “a reprehensible thing to do” – bartering British fishing.   He can be proud that he is Ted Heath Mak2

Information on the Data Sets in the Table

*The Zonal Attachment % for each species tabulated below is taken from the Fishing for Leave study – Robbery of UK Resources –

*The Zonal Attachment figures in Robbery of UK Resources were derived from EU Commission catch data stats which record member state catches by species within each sea area –

*They are calculated by adding together catches in UK waters by EU and UK boats, and likewise, total catches in EU waters by EU and UK boats. These statistics show the prevalence of catches of a species in each party’s waters and therefore, through the predominance of this species in each parties EEZ, what each parties fair share should be of the total TAC agreed for a particular species in each ICES Sea Area. The figures align with a similar study conducted by the North Atlantic Fisheries College (NAFC) Scalloway.

*The Total TACs for 2020 figures are taken from the EU Regulation 2020/123 which lays out the TAC and fishing opportunities.   The Average value per ton (based on 2019 prices) are MMO figures as laid out in the UK Fisheries Statistics 2019 journal.