A leading fish merchant who voted Brexit to “take back control of UK waters” says he was “brainwashed” after the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) unveiled requirements for exports from 2021.
Speaking to the Financial Times, Ian Perkes of Ian Perkes Fish Merchants Ltd, said he “wish he hadn’t” voted to leave the European Union in 2016, adding that tariffs on exports would be a catastrophe for his business and the fishing boats that supply it.
Earlier this month he joined an extensive list of industry figures who put their name to a letter warning that the bureaucratic requirements the government says are needed to export fish to the EU from 1 January will have a “seriously detrimental effect” on the industry.
Perkes had previously described warnings of fish being left on the dock after Brexit as “a lot of old tosh”, saying “businesses will continue” and “thrive” post-Brexit.
His outlook seems less bullish now.
Chief among the issues, as pointed out by the FT’s George Parker, is that much of the catch is usually shipped to markets in Europe.
“The problem, rarely acknowledged by ministers, is that Britons do not much like the fish caught in the UK’s rich fishing waters”.
Come January there could also be issues sourcing workers if immigration rules don’t change, begging the question; What good are fishing rights without the deckhands to fish them?