The fishing industry has discovered itself at the heart of the debate over Brexit and the prime minister’s enlist batch. But how did a sector which accounts for about 0.1% of the UK’s economy become such a big edition?
Whale or minnow?
A Commons research library briefing supposes the UK’s fishing and fish processing manufactures employ a total of 24,000 beings, and contribute PS1. 4bn to the UK economy.
Yes, that’s a lot of jobs and a lot of coin. But it’s a drop in the ocean when you consider that it’s 0.12% of the entire economy, and less than 0.1% of the 33 million strong national workforce.
In terms of economic wallop( measured by gross value added, or GVA ), the timber industry has similar heft.
Indeed, looking at the most recent statistics for GVA by manufacture, almost all of them are bigger than fishing.
The leather goods industry is slightly larger – and presented its trust on European markets, could be as significantly affected by Brexit as fishing. Evenly the travel costs organization manufacture is too watching political proceedings with interest, and is importance significantly more in GVA.
And hitherto, we don’t hear backbench MPs fussing about the future of woodworking, or writing to the prime minister to requisition a great deal for tanners. We don’t even hear as regularly about the financial services industry, which is worth PS119bn( or 6.5% of economic output ).
So why does angling have so much pulling?
The difference between fishing and manufactures like wood handling can be found in their records and its geographical concentrations.
By and large, if you’re going to go fishing, you need access to the sea. So the actual fish-catching infrastructure is jam-pack into a few small areas – particularly in Scotland, which has 53% of the whole UK industry.
While it might make up a small fragment of the national workforce, the industry predominates some coastal communities in places like Peterhead. This symbolizes any changes in its lucks have a exceedingly noticeable wallop – same to the practice the downturn in the oil industry was specially stark in Aberdeen.
The history of the fishing industry also dedicates it a firm hold on the heartstrings of a nation which up until quite recently claimed with some justification to “rule the waves”.
On top of this, the industry has a strong lobbying spirit – Scottish Fishing Federation chief Bertie Armstrong has a keen eye for a media opportunity, and has become a most prominent figure in the present political debate than quite a few cabinet ministers.