Detailed analysis by agency Marine Scotland and published by Brexit-basher Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP, found that Britian leaving Brussels’ gruelling Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and gaining UK waters back would boost the seafood sector by 21 percent.
SNP’s Rural Affairs Minister, Fergus Ewing, had previously insisted the report showed leaving the single market and customs union would cause “significant harm” to the seafood industry.
He said yesterday: “This report confirms that reduced access to EU markets could significantly harm Scotland’s seafood industries, with those parts of our sector reliant on the speedy supply of fresh product to European markets particularly at risk.”
He said it also suggests “there is unlikely to be an immediate gain for the fishing industry with any quota increases for the fleet only likely to be achieved through international agreement following negotiation over time with coastal state partners”.
But the 101-page government-backed report, co-written by a leading marine consultancy and published on the Scot’s government website, has undermined the party’s anti-Brexit warnings.
The document gave four trade deal scenarios that modelled the impact Brexit would have on British fishermen, with just one showing a negative impact assuming fishermen would retain their current 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) dubbed the report findings a “Brexit bonanza”.
Bertie Armstrong, the SFF’s chief executive, said: “This report simply underlines the importance of the UK regaining sovereignty over its own waters and becoming an independent coastal state with the powers to control access and fishing opportunity.
“Any other course of action would be harmful to the fishing industry and, given its importance to coastal communities, that would be totally unacceptable.”
In March, the government was slammed for betraying fishermen in the Brexit transition deal, which will see the bloc negotiating fishing rights until 2020.
According to the document, a new arrangement along those lines outside the EU would see a direct increase in economic output of around £320 million.
That, added to a further £220million in indirect impacts would see the industry benefit from a total of £540million.
This is the equivalent of a 21 percent output increase, which would produce 5,000 jobs.