A NEW study has warned without increase in UK fishing quotas, all Brexit scenarios would lead to a decline in the country’s fishing industry.

A new briefing paper by the UK Trade Policy Observatory, the independent expert partnership between the University of Sussex and Chatham House, provides an empirical assessment of the possible impact of Brexit on the UK’s fishing industry.

The key findings of the report - produced by University of Sussex senior lecturer in economics Michael Gasiorek and Suzannah Walmsley – conclude there could be a dcline in output and trade for the UK fishing fleet because of increased tariffs and non-tariff measures, including potentially increased food safety checks or paperwork, with the EU market.

The report said: “ Successfully renegotiating quota levels, to be more reflective of fish distribution in national waters - rather than historic fishing patterns which heavily influence current quotas - could see the amount of fish UK fleets can take from their waters more than double in the case of some species such as herring.

“The improved access to other markets from Brexit will not compensate for the loss of tariff-free access to the EU where the UK currently exports more than 80 per of its cod, crab, hake, Nephrops, saithe and scallops.”

The report adds: “A no-deal Brexit without quota changes would hit the UK fishing industry by causing a drop in output, exports and imports. This would cause an increase in prices for all ten biggest-selling fish species analysed by as much as 6.2 per cent (in the case of Haddock) and a decrease in export by as much as 15.8 per cent (in the case of Hake).

“The UK could reap significant benefits from taking back control of its waters, but if that is achieved at the expense of EU fishermen or customers, then the UK can expect retaliatory behaviour in other sectors or calls for compensation.”

Leigh fishman Paul Gilson said: “The general conclusions are sound enough although, of course, a lot depends on the negotiations and the UK’s determination to stand fast on fishing.

I think the paper underplays the leverage that control over access gives the UK, not just now but in perpetuity, under international law.

“Foreign investment in the UK is not just from EU and EEA countries but countries like Canada too.

I clearly welcome the fact that we will control access and have the right to set our own quotas set on scientific advice and not who you best friend is. There has been much injustice in the way that the fisheries of europe have been run.”

Southend West MP Sir David Amess dismissed the findings. He said: “All this is sheer speculation. I have every confidence that as we move toward the 29th March next year when we leave the European Union, the government will secure a deal for this country which will benefit us all and particularly the UK fishing industry.

“Any responsible government should plan for every possible scenario. I will continue to support local fishermen in what they are trying to achieve in the negotiations taking place as we leave the EU.”