2021 has been a turbulent year so far, beginning with the UK fishing industry shocked at the extent of the UK government’s willingness to give ground on fisheries in its agreement with the European Union – despite the promises and commitments that had been repeatedly made throughout the referendum campaign.
Looking to establish a clear understanding of what has been achieved and what has been lost, the NFFO has tasked experienced fisheries negotiator Gary Taylor with undertaking an analysis on its behalf. The brief was to make his best estimate of the gains and losses and the winners and losers in this whole process.
‘To be clear, we would much prefer the Government to publish its definitive cost benefit analysis in a transparent way for public scrutiny and debate. In the absence of that information, this is our best estimate,’ the NFFO stated.
‘What we didn’t get and still haven’t received from Government is a clear statement of what has been gained and what has been lost as we left the EU.’
‘Shortly after Boris Johnson signed the UK’s Trade and Cooperation Agreement with the EU, the government declared that the UK fishing industry would incrementally benefit to the tune of £148 million from the deal by 2026,’ said NFFO chief executive Barry Deas.
‘However, we have yet to see an official balance sheet of the costs and benefits associated with the TCA. In the regrettable absence of such a breakdown, the NFFO is grateful to Gary Taylor, a former DEFRA official, for his analysis and assessment of the real impact of the TCA, using official published data. The assessment shows that there are very few winners and a great many losers. Gary Taylor’s analysis suggests that the bulk of the UK fishing fleet is on a trajectory to incur losses amounting to £64 million or more per year, with a total loss in excess of £300 million by 2026, unless changes are secured through international fisheries negotiation.’