Ynys Môn Assembly Member Rhun ap Iorwerth this week asked the First Minister about support for the shellfish industry following the decision to leave the EU.
Given the importance of the industry to the Welsh economy and the fact that a large amount of shellfish are exported to European countries, Rhun ap Iorwerth shared the concern of the industry that Wales will not have a direct voice in negotiations on leaveing the EU.
Speaking in the Senedd, Rhun said:
“In 2015, marine agriculture was worth some £12 million to the Welsh economy. It is an important industry and employer in my constituency and the ability to sell in a single market without tolls has been an important contribution to the success of the industry. To give you some figures, 98 per cent of the produce of Bangor Mussel Producers is exported—some 70 per cent to the Netherlands, 20 per cent to France and 10 per cent to Ireland.
“May I quote one of the leaders of the industry, who has praised some of the negotiations that have happened internally in Wales since the vote? He said that he fears the worst for Wales because of the fact that Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will not have a direct voice in the negotiations on exiting the European Union. Can the First Minister tell us, therefore, what the Welsh Government strategy will be from here on out to try to safeguard the future of these important industries?”
In his response the First Minister replied: “Ninety per cent of the fish caught in Wales are exported, so any tariff or toll or any other kind of obstacle will be bad for the export market. We know that the United Kingdom market is too small to secure a future for them and that is why it’s so important to ensure that the United Kingdom Government sticks to its word in order to ensure that there is a strong voice for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland over the ensuing discussions over the next two years and more.”