Land Value Taxation Campaign

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Home Blog Fishing and Brexit

Fishing and Brexit

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The Campaign has no view as such on Brexit. However, outside the European Union, the UK is able to develop innovative policies which would not be permitted as a member country. One of these concerns fishing rights.

In economics, fish in the sea are classified as ‘land’, which provides a clue about how this natural resource, which belongs to the nation as a whole, ought to be managed. Applying the same principles from which land value taxation arise, some scheme of leasing or licensing could be devised on the following lines.

  • Fishing grounds would be divided into zones based on criteria such as location to ports, types of fishing habitats and availability of species.
  • Licenses should not be freehold but be valid for a limited period of from one to five years.
  • Licences should be subject to terms and conditions such as sizes and types of boats which can be used, methods of fishing, size of mesh, quantities and sizes of each species which can be caught.
  • Licenses should be sold at open auction; auctions for inshore fishing zones might be held locally.
  • Revenues should be reserved for policing, protection, conservation, fish hatchery and research.
The system of auctions would automatically give UK coastal fishermen an advantage; Dieppe fishermen would be unlikely to outbid those from Hastings for bidding for licences to fish off the Sussex coast in small boats, as their access across the stormy waters of the English Channel would be too unreliable for it to be worth their while to put in a high bid, if any at all.

The long term aim should be to protect and enhance what is an important part of the national ‘estate’, and as any prudent landowner would do, revenues would be ploughed back so as to maintain, and preferably increase, the long term rental yield. The precedent has been set with the systems for auctioning of offshore oil exploration rights and radio spectrum.


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