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Transition to sustainable fishing could land the UK nearly 30% more fish

Move to sustainable fishing could generate £319 million for UK GDP and 5,100 new jobs

Press Release Date: April 10, 2018

Location: London


Emily Fairless | email: efairless@oceana.org

Oceana released a new socio-economic report today, which finds that the UK is losing out on the opportunity for more food, jobs and money from its fisheries. The findings, presented at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), reveal a possible 27% rise in fish catches (153,000 tonnes more) for the UK fishing fleet, 5,100 full-time jobs for the fishing sector and wider economy and a £319 million boost to UK GDP.

“The future of UK fisheries is bright if the UK rebuilds fish stocks to their full potential and transitions to sustainable fishing. The UK could catch over 150,000 tonnes more fish every year. There will be more food, jobs and money if we just follow a simple recipe: set catch limits according to scientific advice and not politics, protect essential fish habitats where fish breed and grow, and end destructive fishing practices”, said Lasse Gustavsson, executive director of Oceana Europe.

The fish recovery report analysed the 75 most economically-important species for the UK, uncovering the business opportunities behind rebuilding fish stocks to their maximum sustainable yield (MSY). For the UK, fishing stocks at scientifically-recommended limits in order to ensure their long-term environmental and economic viability would bring the following benefits:

More fish:

  • Catches could increase by 153,000 to 730,000 tonnes, representing a 27% rise
  • Cod catches could double, growing from 27,700 to 54,700 tonnes, generating £43 million in additional revenues
  • Haddock catches could almost triple, giving the UK fishing fleet alone 63,000 tonnes more catches, bringing in an additional £82 million in revenues

More jobs:

  • 1,400 new jobs for the fishing industry and additional 3,700 new jobs for downstream sectors, such as food and hospitality
  • For every new job in fisheries, 2.5 more jobs could be created
  • The UK, which has the largest fish processing sector in the European Union (EU), would benefit from the extra fish supply

More money:

  • An additional £319 million for UK GDP, of which £148 million would be a direct contribution from the fishing industry
  • A total of £664 million in revenue, for the fishing industry alone, from just six species: Norway lobster (langoustines), haddock, mackerel, cod, whiting and plaice
  • Net profits for the fishing sector more than doubling, generating an extra £84 million

“The fisheries debate is in full swing following Brexit. Tough Brexit negotiations on fisheries are just around the corner. The UK should not miss this opportunity to secure a more sustainable fishing future”, Gustavsson added.

The release of today’s report marks a new chapter in Oceana’s trajectory. With over 15 years’ presence in some of the world’s biggest fishing nations, Oceana’s new office in central London will help to reinforce its marine research and policy and advocacy work in the UK, as part of its global mission to save the oceans and feed the world.   

Read Oceana’s Recipe for Fish Recovery Report here

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