Fish merchant claims he was 'brainwashed' into voting Brexit

Fish merchants view trays of fish at Peterhead Fish Market in Aberdeenshire, the north east port whi

Fish merchants view trays of fish at Peterhead Fish Market in Aberdeenshire - Credit: PA

A fish merchant has said he was "brainwashed" into voting for Brexit and that he “wishes he hadn’t”.

Brixham-based fish merchant Ian Perkes told Financial Times (FT)that he “never looked at implications of the paperwork” that a vote to leave would bring. 

Perkes has now added his name to a letter from the fishing industry to environment secretary George Eustice, following new proposals from the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) on how catch certificates for export abroad could be validated from 2021 onwards.

The letter implores DEFRA and the MMO to “urgently reconsider the arrangements being put in place” and warns that such arrangements would have “a seriously detrimental effect on fish exports from the UK…”

In April 2018, Perkes had told PBS News Hour that the idea of unsold fish accumulating at Britain’s ports was “a load of old tosh. There is never going to be any fish left on the dock. Every fish here for the last 30 years is sold. Nothing is ever left. There'll be no fish left rotting on the dock, I can assure you of that.”

Perkes had added: “I think business will continue, and we will thrive, which is why I voted out.” 

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He now regrets his decision and admitted that tariffs on British exports would be a catastrophe. 

He said that unless Britain's dietary habits changed dramatically, his sector our be "stuffed" from the effects of a no-deal Brexit.

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"If there is no deal and there are tariffs, we are out of the game," he told the FT

Torbay - the so-called ‘English Riviera’ that contains Brixham - voted for Brexit by a margin of 63%, while a University of Aberdeen survey conducted in the weeks before the referendum found that 92% of fishermen were planning to vote to leave. 

The FT piece that Britons as a whole “do not much like the fish caught in the UK’s rich fishing waters”, and that it imports most of the main varieties of fish it consumes.

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