It’s probably fair to say that the overwhelming majority of Cornish fishermen voted for Brexit in the hope that they would achieve more control and influence over the management of quotas and the ability to limit the number of foreign boats fishing in British waters. Indeed, local MP and vigorous leave campaigner George Eustice, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, said that Brexit would mean the UK Government could represent itself at quota negotiations and that UK interests would not then be bargained with in order “to give advantages to other EU countries”.
The British fishing fleet has been shrinking for some time but the industry still employs 12000 fishermen and contributes £420million to the UK’s GDP. Contrast that, though, with figures from the farming sector which contributes almost £10 billion to the UK economy and employs 465,000.
The immediate effects of Brexit are very limited. The UK continues to be a member of the EU until an exit has been negotiated and the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) will continue to apply to the UK even once Article 50 is invoked.
In the short term, we may see the devaluation of the pound - particularly against the euro - and that will have a positive impact on the prices our fishing industry gets when considering the amount of UK-landed fish that is exported.