Former Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan has been roundly mocked online on Monday after claiming fish products could provide a massive opportunity for Britain's economy if it were to retain full control of waters after Brexit.
Despite only accounting for 0.1% of the UK economy, fishing has become a point of contention between the UK and the European Union over who will retain access to waters.
Hannan, who is a staunch supporter of Brexit, wrote in the Telegraph on Sunday that the use of various fish by-products could provide massive economic opportunities after the UK leaves withdraws from EU rules at the end of this year.
According to Hannan, the monotisation of fish byproducts such as bones, scales, guts, heads, and enzymes could see centres like Hull and Grimsby – which both voted to leave the union in the 2016 referendum – benefit significantly.
Fishing is currently a tiny fraction of our economy. But there is vast growth potential in using fish in cosmetic and health supplements. Bones, scales, guts, heads, enzymes - almost all can be monetised. Hull and Grimsby could be reborn as pharma hubs. https://t.co/MRDkuthsAC— Daniel Hannan (@DanielJHannan) October 25, 2020
The suggestion was ridiculed online for being an underwhelming materialisation of the original Brexit promises such as £350 million for the NHS.
And with that £350m a week for the NHS, we can have all the free drugs they could possibly churn out! pic.twitter.com/GLKoux3pgd— Northern Left Voices (@NorthLeftVoices) October 26, 2020
Trashing our economy for a new market in..... fish heads.— 🏳️🌈 Steve 🚹---------🚹 (@wohyeahwohyeah) October 26, 2020
We're at the "have you considered selling fish guts?" stage of Brexit. Jim Jones would have had a field day with you lot back in the day.— Dr Meenal Viz (@meenalsworld) October 26, 2020
One user pointed out the lack of available fish in the now overfished waters.
In 2012 a report by the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science found there were just 100 (you read that right, one hundred) fully grown adult cod in the North Sea.https://t.co/Vvg2Xy7vie— Russ (@RussInCheshire) October 25, 2020
Others criticised the plan for being reliant on a part of the economy which is comparatively small and is largely not based in Hull and Grimsby.
Sounds like a red herring. Fishing is largely irrelevant. The great fishing fleets are no longer. Brexit remains what it always was: an exercise in vanity, xenophobia and hubris— MarcelOrfordWilliams (@owmarcel) October 25, 2020
Why Grimsby and Hull when the vast majority of fish landings are Scottish? 🏴 pic.twitter.com/w9gUH4TMW5— Hoss (@HossMackintosh) October 26, 2020
Some, however, were quick to highlight that Brexit was about sovereignty and taking back control over UK territory.
At long last we are finally leaving the EU. As well as taking back control of our country, we should be taking back control of our territorial waters too— The Fugitive (@FugitivePh) October 25, 2020
It's not just about giving a much needed boost to the UK's EU quota depleted fishing industry. It's about UK sovereignty too
Britain and the EU will resume post-Brexit trade deal in London on Monday as Michel Barnier delays his return to Brussels.
The EU’s chief negotiator will reportedly stay in the UK until Wednesday to follow up with discussions with his British counterpart Lord Frost. over an eventual trade deal.
At present, the major hurdles to achieving an agreement are the rights to fishing waters, the “level playing field” state aid rules, and the status of Northern Ireland.