The fishing industry has found itself at the heart of the debate over Brexit and the prime minister's draft deal. But how did a sector which accounts for about 0.1% of the UK's economy become such a big issue?Whale or minnow?A Commons research library briefing reckons the UK's fishing and fish processing industries employ a total of 24,000 people, and contribute £1.4bn to the UK economy.Yes, that's a lot of jobs and a lot of money. But it's a drop in the ocean when you consider that it's 0.12% of the overall economy, and less than 0.1% of the 33 million strong national workforce.In terms of economic impact (measured by gross value added, or GVA), the timber industry has similar heft.Indeed, looking at the latest statistics for GVA by industry, almost all of them are bigger than fishing.The leather goods industry is slightly larger - and given its reliance on European markets, could be as significantly affected by Brexit as fishing. Equally the travel agency industry is also … [Read more...] about Brexit: Why is everyone talking about fishing?
The EU 27 are concerned that "taking back control" of the UK's waters might mean fewer fishing opportunities for their fleets. A diplomatic note - seen by the BBC - raised concerns about access and environmental commitments.The prospect might be a surprise to them, focused on 585 pages of draft agreements, but it's been the backbone of the economic argument for the UK's most pro-Brexit industry. Many have said it would be the litmus-test of the whole process. The waters around all the EU's member states, up to a limit of 200 miles, are effectively "pooled" when it comes to fishing. It means boats from one country can fish in another's seas. When the UK leaves the EU, barring any new agreements, those waters will exclusively become the UK's again, under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.There's also a further separate international agreement, called the London Fisheries Convention, covering the 12 miles closest to the shore. It's being terminated, meaning no foreign … [Read more...] about Will the UK and EU reach a Brexit deal on fishing?