Fisheries Minister's nod to Humber as he looks forward to 'independent coastal state'

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 11 Oct 2017

FISHERIES Minister George Eustice has told Grimsby’s seafood leaders there are “fantastic opportunities for the fishing industry” as Brexit nears.

In a short pre-recorded video address, he looked forward to the publication of the Fisheries Bill, and acknowledged the strength of the sector, though didn’t touch on potential labour impact which is the key issue for many on the Humber.

He said: “Seafood is incredibly important industry, with the Humber region worth over £3 billion a year. In the last three years we have seen the number of full time equivalent jobs grow by 10 per cent.”

MORE: Icelandic Brexit boost as seafood relations look to deepen

Statistics revealed later in the day showed that 18 per cent of those employed here are EU workers, underlining the importance of free labour movement or specific certainties come exit day. Nationally that figure averages out at 42 per cent.

Referring to the Seafood 2040 report, an industry vision strategy he triggered two years ago and worked on by sector experts including Grimsby Fish Market chief Martyn Boyers, former Young’s director Mike Mitchell and NFFO leader Barrie Deas, he told how it focuses on “adding value through the supply chain to get more people eating healthy seafood as a protein option.”

He added: “The conference is looking at the issue of Brexit, no conference would be complete without having a session on Brexit, looking at the challenge we have and the fantastic opportunities we have for the fishing industry as we publish the Fisheries Bill and become an independent coastal state again.”

He also expressed his disappointment about not being in Cleethorpes in person, having visited previously as part of the Leave campaign when a fishing flotilla entered the Humber.

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