Why new lobster markets are needed to protect 450 jobs in our region after Brexit

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 20 Dec 2017

New markets for the lucrative £35m lobster fishing industry in Holderness are to be investigated to help protect 450 jobs after Brexit.

The local lobster fishery is the largest in Europe, landing more than one million lobster each year.

Some 250 fishermen and 200 onshore jobs are supported by the industry, with 65 vessels operating out of Hornsea, Withernsea, Easington and Tunstall.

But with more than 80 per cent of the Holderness catch exported to Europe, new markets will be needed if the UK leaves the EU without a favourable deal.

Now, Holderness Fisheries Local Action Group is funding a University of Hull study to identify alternative markets and ways of expanding the domestic market.

More than 520 tonnes of lobster are landed annually in Holderness

Jeremy Wilcock, business development manager at University of Hull’s Business School, says: “The value of the fishing industry both in terms of direct value and in terms of the tourist industry is immense and it is vital that it should be sustained.”

Valued at around £7m at first landing, the lobster catch in Holderness generates some £35m for the local economy, with 700 families financially reliant on the fishery.

Mike Cohen, chief executive of the Holderness Fishing Industry Group, says: “Clearly with the uncertainty of trading conditions post-Brexit we need to be examining all the different ways we could go as an industry.

Mike Cohen, chief executive of the Holderness Fishing Industry Group

“We need to think about developing new markets, developing existing markets in different ways and perhaps expanding domestic markets more.

“Any good business looks for new and different ways of doing things, you don’t stand still as a business if you want to succeed.”

North Eastern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (NEIFCA) is behind the successful grant application for the £91,000 study.

David McCandless, chief officer at NEIFCA says: “This is a very important and timely project to be involved in as our local fishing industry navigates the uncertainties of UK’s exit from the EU.

“Coming out of the EU could bring increased tariffs and levies on UK landings of exported live shellfish.

“The study will also look at how coming out of the EU gives greater flexibility with countries outside of Europe.

“It will look at what alternative markets the fishermen along the Holderness coast could access.

“One of the biggest developing markets is the Chinese market and they are intending to look at that.”

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