What is it realistic to expect from Brexit?

Posted on 25/04/16 by Andrew Wilson

Fisherman and boat owner Andrew Wilson tells us what we could expect to happen following a vote to leave the European Union.

A leave vote in June would give rise to the expectation of a brighter future for the industry. It is understandable that many feel aggrieved by “Johnny Foreigner'' telling us what we can and cannot do. This apart, is it truly realistic to think that the UK government, of whatever hue, would support the industry in way that would satisfy that expectation? I suggest not. The previous post by Griffin Carpenter and Bryce Stewart sets out in a pretty clear way many of the aspects of a Brexit and the ''new'' negotiations that would have to follow.

Is it realistic to expect the trade in fish to continue as normal? Norway as the European but non EU member to trade, has to comply with virtually all the EU environmental diktats, Habitats Directive et al. Plus freedom of labour movement. It pays in but has no say in political decisions.

Is it realistic to expect other EU members to give the UK a more advantageous deal than pertains within the EU? I think not.

Would Brexit lead to the end of foreign owned British companies and their share of UK quota? The answer is surely no.

Is it realistic to expect any form of UK quota redistribution to follow Brexit? Again I think not.

I hate to say it, but with a few exceptions the industry, our industry is an unimportant irrelevance to our politicians. My fear is that once again, as in the 1970s, we would be used as a bargaining pawn. Certainly the French and Spanish would take maximum advantage of that.

So think on before casting one's vote. As in a long lasting marriage, not everything is rosy all the time, but at the end of the day it is probably better to stay married!