Brexit 'offers UK unique opportunity to reshape fishing industry'

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Post-Brexit Britain needs to take back control of its waters in order to stop billions of dead fish being dumped back into the sea, a think-tank has insisted.

A new report from the Adam Smith Institute (ASI) states the UK has a unique opportunity to reverse the "savage" damage done by the European Common Fisheries Policy (ECFP) and replenish its fish stocks.

The institute says the EU's catch quotas have resulted in 1.7 million tonnes of fish being thrown back into the sea each year.

The ASI has urged Britain to follow the example of Norway and Iceland and stay out of the ECFP after Brexit negotiations.

With 80% of UK fishing stocks being caught by foreign boats, the ASI has called for the extension of the country's Exclusive Economic Zone from the current 12 miles off shore, to 200 miles out.

The ASI also urged strict registration of non-UK trawlers, and the creation of a National Fisheries Council (NFC) to determine a total allowable catch for each species.

The think-tank also wants UK fishing waters divided into administrative zones with the NFC given powers to impose an immediate suspension of fishing in any areas where the sustainability of stocks appears to be at risk.

ASI president, and report author, Dr Madsen Pirie, said: "This 10-point action plan gives Britain a blueprint to reshape its entire fishing industry in the wake of Brexit.

"We have a chance to make UK fishing a viable and profitable enterprise, while pursuing a policy that restores and sustains fishing stocking within its waters.

"Vested interests, lobbying and political protection of national interests have taken more from the sea than it can put back. It is time for alternative policies to be explored and pursued."