Catch of the day should be new fishing policy, urges Adam Smith Institute

Francesca Washtell
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Scottish Trawlermen Work The Waters Of The North Atlantic
The Adam Smith Institute has urged the government to net itself a new fishing strategy (Source: Getty)

The government has a "unique opportunity" to rewrite its fishing strategy and end the EU policy that has "savaged" UK waters, think tank the Adam Smith Institute (ASI) has said.

In a paper released today, the ASI has urged the government to withdraw the UK from the European Common Fisheries Policy in the wake of the Brexit vote and recommended a ban on fishing in UK waters without specific consent.

The think tank has also called for the creation of two new bodies, the Maritime Research Institute, which would monitor fish stocks, and a National Fisheries Council, which would determine a total allowable catch and quota for each species.

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The ASI claims the Common Fisheries Policy has "drastically limited" the exclusivity of fishing waters from 200 miles off the coast when it joined in 1973 to 12 miles now, enabling up to 80 per cent of catches in UK waters to be netted by foreign ships.

The EU's Total Allowable Catch quota has also led to around 1.7m tonnes, or up to 50 per cent, of total fish caught to be dumped back into the sea, it added.

"This 10-point action plan gives Britain a blueprint to reshape its entire fishing industry in the wake of Brexit," said Dr Madsen Pirie, report author and president of the ASI.

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"We have a chance to make UK fishing a viable and profitable enterprise, while pursuing a policy that restores and sustains fishing stocking within its waters.

"Vested interests, lobbying and political protection of national interests have taken more from the sea than it can put back. It is time for alternative policies to be explored and pursued."

A spokesperson for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: "Our fishing industry is immensely valuable and supporting our fishermen will form an important part of our exit from the EU.

"Brexit means Brexit and the government is going to make a success of it – this means ensuring a profitable fishing industry, sustainable stocks and a healthy marine environment."

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