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Non-tariff barriers would be a 'killer blow' to Welsh fishing

Non-tariff barriers could deliver a 'killer blow' according to an Assembly Committee.

The National Assembly's Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee says frictionless trade and access to EU markets is essential to the survival of the Welsh fishing industry.

It added that even marginal delays for live shellfish exporters will have a huge impact on the viability of their business.

Wales gets just 1% of the UK's fishing quota compared to other UK nations i.e. the limits on the amount of fish caught each year to protect fish stocks.

Griffin Carpenter from the New Economics Foundation explained to the Committee that quota allocation did not reflect the total Welsh catch, as it did not include the catch of under-10m vessels, which constitute the majority of the Welsh fleet.

Consequently, when the UK quota share was allocated to the constituent nations of the UK based on historic catch records, Wales was disadvantaged.

Mike Hedges AM, Chair of the Committee, says Wales suffers from an 'unfair' quota.

We feel the Welsh fishing industry is at a tipping point. Non-tariff barriers could be a killer blow to an industry already under pressure and which suffers from an unfair quota share from the UK Government.

Access to EU markets is essential if these businesses are to survive, while the Welsh Government must fight for a fairer share for Wales and develop an ambitious forward-thinking strategy if the sector is to thrive.

– Mike Hedges AM, Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee.

The report recommends the UK Government must do all it can to ensure that exporting is as frictionless as possible and is calling on the Welsh Government to publish a focused strategy to ensure grow welsh fisheries.

The Welsh Government says it is working with fishing communities:

We welcome the Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee report on ‘The Impact of Brexit on Fisheries in Wales’ and will officially respond to the recommendations in due course. It is clear that the fishing industry is particularly vulnerable to changes in the way we trade with the EU with 90% of the catch sent to the EU or other countries via EU trade deals. We are working hard with fishing communities to mitigate any risks associated with brexit but the threat to this industry is still very real.

– Welsh Government