British households could be forced to stomach an 18% rise in the price of cod if the country crashes out of the EU without a free trade deal, it has been claimed.
Tariffs placed on imports of the UK’s most popular seafood would range between 7.5% to 18% in the event of a hard Brexit, according to new research from investment bank Rabobank.
Beyhan De Jong, animal protein analyst at Rabobank, said: “In the event of a hard Brexit, we would see tariffs imposed on fish imports, which would likely see Britain’s fish and chip shops increase consumer prices to cover their own rising costs.”
The findings are part of Rabobank’s latest report on the UK’s fishing industry, entitled “Fishing for Answers II”.
The future price of British seafood imports would depend on whether the Government is capable of signing free trade agreements with the EU and countries such as Iceland, which is the UK’s biggest cod supplier, as well as the Faroe Islands and Norway.
This group of countries collectively make up more than half of the UK’s cod imports.
Prepared and preserved fish, the main type used in fish and chip shops, accounts for almost £100 million in imports and carries the highest tariffs.
Frozen fillets, which make up over £340 million of imports, bear the lowest tariffs.
The UK could retaliate, the report says, by imposing counter tariffs on Scottish salmon, herring and mackerel, which are popular on the continent.
“This tit-for-tat would likely result in consumers paying more for the most popular seafood and fish products both in Britain and the EU.
“An ocean of uncertainty awaits the UK’s seafood industry should it fail to negotiate trade deals with its neighbours,” Mr De Jong added.