England’s most lucrative fishing port lands record £43.6 million of seafood

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Brixham, Devon

New figures show England’s most lucrative fishing port, Brixham in Devon landed a record £43.6 million of seafood in 2021.

Brixham Fish Market beat their £40.3 million record from 2017 and smashed 2020’s figure of £35.8 million to land a record £43.6 million in 2021 after leaving the EU.

Contrary to many predicting Brexit would destroy the UK’s fishing industry, Barry Young, boss of Brixham Trawler Agents, said the port was thriving and he was happy to report “record sales.”

In an interview with the Sun newspaper Mr Young said:

“Despite the pandemic and Brexit rumours we’ve seen our sales to domestic markets and exports to the EU increase nicely.

The positive story is well reflected in these record sales numbers.”

Conservative MP for Totnes Anthony Mangnall added:

“It shows the opportunities and benefits to can be found as an independent trading nation.”

In a further move to ensure that British fishing communities reap the benefits of Brexit, the Government have put together a package of measures known as the ‘economic link’, which include increasing the minimum percentage of UK crew members that must be on board vessels to 70%, creating more job opportunities for UK residents. It will also contribute to the financial boost to the local economies in fishing communities.  

The amount of fish that must be landed in the UK after it is caught have also risen from 50 to 70%, meaning more fish being sold and processed in the UK.

Vessels that do not meet the landing or crewing requirement will be required to donate quota that provides valuable extra fishing opportunities to the inshore fleet. This will be increased from 16.5% to 20% in 2022 and the Government says it seeks to increase the current threshold over time.

These changes will provide a further boost to the fishing industry and the wider economy following the UK’s departure from the European Union.  

Optimism is also still riding high after the Government announced fishing communities across the UK will benefit from better infrastructure, strengthened supply chains, new jobs and an investment in skills thanks to a £75 million boost for the sector. This will include modernising ports and harbours alongside increasing capacity and efficiency at processing and aquaculture facilities.

Funding to infrastructure will also ensure the industry is equipped to fully benefit from the new changes and support the levelling up of UK coastal villages, towns and cities.

The Government say the investment will strengthen the sector’s ability to land more fish in the UK and take them to market faster. This will be achieved by improving the capacity and efficiency of UK harbours and processing facilities while boosting the long-term sustainability of the fishing industry and “supporting jobs, increasing opportunities for coastal communities and levelling up across the country.”

Environment Secretary George Eustice said: 

A year on from the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, a positive picture is emerging for our fishing industry.

We are announcing a £65 million infrastructure scheme which will allow us to modernise ports and harbours and increase capacity and efficiency at processing facilities. A £10 million fund will encourage new entrants into the processing, catching and aquaculture sectors, and train and upskill those in the industry.

We are committed to levelling up coastal communities across the UK, and this marks a period of rejuvenation for our fishing industry.  

Craig Doyle a fisherman of 15 years in Devon said:

“People will always moan but we’re seeing support and we’ve had a great year. Just shows you don’t trust the doom and gloomers. Things are looking good. People across the country can also help support … eat fish and support us!”

Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Michael Gove, added:

This multi-million pound investment will have a real and tangible impact on coastal communities across country and the UK fish industry.

It will support the creation of jobs and training opportunities that will help put the industry on a sure footing for the future.

We are working hard to boost local communities and spread opportunity to every corner of the country as we level up the nation.

The UK has concluded annual fisheries negotiations with the EU, providing certainty for the fishing industry on catch limits for 2022.

The UK-EU catch limits, known as Total Allowable Catches, have been agreed for around 70 fish stocks. They will provide around 140,000 tonnes of fishing opportunities for the UK fleet, estimated to be worth around £313 million, based on historic landing prices. Click here for more details.

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