Brexit ‘provides golden opportunity to regain control of fisheries policy’

April 14 2017, 12.25amUpdated: April 14 2017, 9.23am
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Brexit provides a “golden opportunity” to revitalise the UK’s fisheries industry, the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) has said.

The free market think tank claimed the sector has been in decline for decades, due in part to the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy.

An IEA study urges the Government to remove indirect subsidies, such as grants for harbour improvements and transport links, because it says infrastructure is better operated on a commercial basis.

The report calls for subsidies for the industry to be phased out and replaced with market mechanisms to protect fisheries.

The IEA wants to reduce regulatory barriers to allow consumers to substitute depleted species for similar farmed fish, and calls on the state to refrain from imposing regulation on inshore fisheries.

Where state intervention is unavoidable, it should be limited via the creation of property rights, such as individual transferable quotas, the study said.

Dr Richard Wellings, head of transport at the IEA said: “The decline of the fishing industry and disastrous exploitation of fish stocks has largely been down to the failure of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy.

“Pumping vast subsidies into the sector has been counter-productive as they increase the size of the fishing fleet, opening the door for more trawlers to exploit free-for-all stocks.

“But Brexit provides a golden opportunity for the UK to regain control of its fisheries policy and look to market-based mechanisms such as introducing property rights in order to promote sustainability and productivity in the industry.”

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