Representing & Supporting Shetland’s Fishermen

New report highlights Brexit opportunities for the British fishing industry
October 11th 2016

Shetland Fishermen’s Association has welcomed the publication of a report revealing the full extent of catches by foreign vessels in UK waters.

Published today by NAFC Marine Centre UHI in Shetland, and based on the European Commission’s most recent data, Dr Ian Napier’s report explains that more than half of the fish caught in British waters between 2012 and 2014 were taken by foreign fishing boats.

Within that total, half of all the demersal fish and two thirds of the pelagic fish caught in our fishing waters, or what will be known as the UK’s Exclusive Economic Zone, were caught by boats from EU countries other than the UK.

More than three-quarters of the sole, hake and herring, and more than half of the megrim, plaice and saithe, caught in British waters was taken by other European fishing boats.

Non-UK EU boats caught seven times more fish in UK waters than UK boats caught in the waters surrounding other EU countries.

Shetland Fishermen’s Association executive officer Simon Collins said: “This report confirms the view of the entire Scottish fishing industry that Brexit creates a sea of opportunity for island and coastal communities throughout the UK.

“Once out of Europe, the UK will have the right to manage its own waters as it sees fit and control access to them.

“The report shows just how strong a bargaining position we have. We should deny access to our rich and productive fishing grounds to any country not prepared to offer something in return, and by that I mean fairer shares of scientifically agreed quotas.

“We urge the UK and Scottish governments to use their strength in this area to restore pride and dynamism to an industry so cynically sacrificed upon EU entry all those years ago.”

The full report is available via