Why EU fishing quotas are good for Britain


Today, Nigel Farage made a big deal about being on the Thames protesting EU fishing quotas. It is a serious issue. So lets pretend for a moment that Nigel Farage genuinely cares about the UK fishing industry, rather than just using this is an opportunity to press his own agenda. We have to pretend because we have the hard evidence to show he does not care, as exemplified by this meme.


That’s right, Nigel Farage was on the EU fisheries committee, but did not bother to turn up much, or vote, or really do anything. But suppose he genuinely did care. Are EU fishing quotas bad for Britain? The answer is no. Here is why.

We need to maintain fish stocks

Fish stocks have become dangerously low. We have quotas in place to stop fish going extinct. This would be bad because if fish disappear then it causes a huge problem for the environment. For example whales need fish to be there to eat. Whereas on the flip side, if fish were not eating their prey, they would cause over-population.

If you are not swayed by the environmental concern, consider that once there are no fish left, we won’t have any fish to eat. For me, that would be rubbish because I really like fish.

Fishing is big business

Are you imagining that the people complaining are small time fishermen who had a little boat to feed their family? To be honest, I was. And some of them are. But the majority of them are not. They’re big business. Here is Dr Chris Hassall from the University of Leeds…

Three large companies own 61% of all fishing quotas. This isn’t about Michael Gove’s father alone on a tiny boat in a stormy sea. This is an industry monopolised by millionaires who are fighting regulation, just like all other industries. Viewed in that light it is completely unsurprising that “Big Fish” has joined Farage, alongside his banker allies.

Fishing quotas help small fisherman compete against Big Fish. Unrestricted, big companies would fish the oceans clean, take all the dividend profits out of their companies and move on with their lives. Meanwhile small fishermen would suddenly find an empty sea, no way to make a living, and no huge profits to fall back on. Creating a sustainable industry is the only way to protect small fishing businesses.

Quotas protect Scottish fisherman

As well as allowing small fishermen to complete with the big corporate fishing, preventing over-fishing also protects those who genuinely do fish to feed their families. In the second episode of River Cottage: Gone Fishing Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall travels to the Island of Rona in the Hebredes to meet the island’s caretaker. He feeds his family on the annual mackerel catch. However, each year that gets smaller and smaller. By the time the documentary was made, he had run into a two week draught.

Fishing quota are good for British business

As well as protecting our small fishermen from big business and ensuring we have a sustainable fishing industry going forward, fishing quotas have one further advantage to British business: they open up the opportunity for innovative fish farming to meet consumer demand.

In the same River Cottage: Gone Fishing episode Fearnley travels to the island of North Uist to visit just such a fish farm. The strong currents around the island mean they don’t have to treat for any diseases such as lice and produces excellent-quality fish. It’s a wonderful example of a small British business leading the world in innovation, sustainability and quality.


EU fishing quotas are good for Britain because:

  • They ensure there will still be fish to eat tomorrow
  • They ensure a sustainable industry for the future
  • They protect small fishermen from big fishing companies
  • They open up new opportunities for British entrepreneurs
  • They protect small communities that fish-to-eat from overfishing
  • They protect the environment


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This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 15th, 2016 at 5:59 pm and is filed under Religion & Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.