Implications of Brexit for Fishing Opportunities in Wales

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Publication Date February 2018
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This report explores the potential implications for fisheries policy in Wales of the planned exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union (‘Brexit’) and the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy.

Brexit has the potential to significantly change the context of fisheries management in the UK. The three main axes for that change are access to waters, sharing of fishing quotas, and tariff and non-tariff trade barriers. Devolution is also significant and could see power over some fishing responsibilities move from European institutions to the Welsh Assembly. There is a great deal of uncertainty regarding the outcomes of Brexit; nonetheless analysis of fleet economic performance under six Brexit scenarios reveals that while the Welsh fishing fleet as a whole could gain, there are large divisions in the industry, with most vessels, fishers, and ports likely to be ‘net losers’ from Brexit.

The structure of the Welsh fleet is unique and there is a real risk of it being ‘left behind’ by the demands of larger fishing interests in the UK-EU negotiations. Looking forward, it is estimated that fishing opportunities relating to Welsh waters post-Brexit could be much larger than Wales’ current share. However, as any increases would accrue to existing UK quota holders, the Welsh fleet requires a different arrangement of quota sharing within the UK to get its fair share.

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Commentary and Analysis
Brexit & Environment: Blog, 23/04/2018: The future of Welsh fisheries after Brexit
Cardiff University: Politics and Governance Blog, 01/05/2018: The future of Welsh fisheries

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