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Fleetwood once boasted 120 fishing trawlers.
Fleetwood once boasted 120 fishing trawlers.Photographer: Ian Hodgson/Bloomberg

Brexit May Be Too Late to Save Britain’s Fishermen

Boris Johnson is willing to risk a deal with the EU to get back control of trawling grounds, but the industry accounts for 0.1% of the economy.

Derek Reader coats the deck of his 40-foot fishing boat in salt-resistant paint ahead of another punishing winter hunting plaice, turbot and cod in the Irish Sea. He hopes it will be his last season.

The U.K. has made regaining control of its fishing grounds a central demand in protracted and fraught talks on a post-Brexit trade deal with the European Union. Yet the last trawlerman in the English port of Fleetwood, which once boasted 120 vessels like his, plans to sell the MFV Albion and quit the industry.