Ian Duncan, Conservative MEP for Scotland, has welcomed a new report from the University of the Highlands and Islands, which has found that EU vessels catch more than half of the fish landed in the UK’s Exclusive Economic Zone.
The North Atlantic Fisheries College (NAFC) in Shetland examined the period 2012 - 2014, reporting that fishing boats from other EU countries caught 58% of the fish and shellfish in UK waters.
This equates to some 650,000 tonnes of fish and shellfish, worth more than £400 million, each year.
In contrast, UK fishing boats landed only 90,000 tonnes of fish and shellfish, worth about £100 million, from elsewhere in EU waters each year.
Dr Duncan said,
‘Every British fisher regards the Common Fisheries Policy as a disaster. The vote to leave the EU gives us the opportunity to develop policies that work for fishermen, not against them. First will come the negotiation, and what these figures show is that the EU has a considerable amount to lose if they do not approach the talks in a considered and constructive manner. Access to the UK’s Exclusive Economic Zone is worth four times more to the EU, than access to EU waters is to British fishermen.
‘The report serves as a reminder of how much UK Fishermen have sacrificed over the decades since the Common Fisheries Policy and the principle of equal access came into being. It also signals that the UK can look upon the negotiations with some optimism. I remain certain that British Fishermen have a bright future.’