No-deal Brexit could destroy Britain's fishing industry, warns seafood boss

David Harding
·Contributor
Fish industry leaders have warned over a no-deal Brexit (PA)
Fish industry leaders have warned over a no-deal Brexit (PA)

Britain’s fishing industry could be destroyed by a no-deal Brexit, a leading figure has warned.

The UK fishing industry has long been one of the biggest backers for Britain to leave Brussels but Graeme Sutherland, the director of Whitelink Seafoods, said fishing would not survive if Britain crashes out of the European Union.

‘As a company, we export into Europe at a rate of 85-90% of what we produce here,’ he told LBC.

‘We are working on a next-day delivery into France for distribution into Europe. So if we are delayed in any way in clearing customs, in effect, we are going to lose 24 hours on delivery.

‘We need frictionless borders. It has to be that for our industry to survive.’

Britain’s fishing industry has long backed the decision to leave the EU, due to widespread opposition to Brussels’ Common Fisheries Policy which they blame for decimating the industry and communities in the UK.

‘Our aim is to leave the EU and get out of the Common Fisheries Policy,’ boat skipper Peter Bruce told LBC.

‘This aim comes from 30 years of being ruled by the Common Fisheries Policy which has massive effects on our coastal communities all around Britain.

Fishermen protesting to leave the EU in Gateshead last year (PA)
Fishermen protesting to leave the EU in Gateshead last year (PA)

‘We see great opportunities for the fishing industry. 55% of the fish taken from round the UK in our waters is taken by non-UK boats – boats from France, boats from Spain.’

Earlier this month, the UK fishing industry was told to prepare for a no-deal Brexit.

Britain is due to leave the UK on March 29 but how still remains uncertain.

Earlier today, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said Britain’s exit could be delayed if a deal is reached.

The fishing industry has long backed Britain leaving the EU (PA)
The fishing industry has long backed Britain leaving the EU (PA)

‘I think it is true that if we ended up approving a deal in the days before 29th March then we might need some extra time to pass critical legislation, but if we are able to make progress sooner then that might not be necessary,’ he told BBC radio.

‘We can’t know at this stage exactly which of those scenarios would happen.’

Earlier this week, MPs voted down an amendment that would delay Britain’s exit from the EU, despite Theresa May still trying to find a deal to get widespread support.