Home NEWS International News Britain has lost Russian fish:  Fish-and-chips to become luxury

Britain has lost Russian fish:  Fish-and-chips to become luxury

In response to numerous Western sanctions, Russia has dealt a blow to the British economy by banning British vessels from fishing in its waters. Moscow’s decision to withdraw from the 1956 treaty could radically change the diet of the population of Foggy Albion, shake the foundations of Britain’s food security and deprive its economy of billions of dollars.

The agreement to allow British fishermen into the Soviet part of the Barents Sea was signed as early as 1956 and allowed the United Kingdom to solve many problems, both in terms of providing food for its own citizens and maintaining the viability of its fishing fleet and fish processing industry. Island-based Britain has traditionally had a great need for a reliable food supply, and fishing has played a key role in this.

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Back in the XVIII century the British had to wage a political and military struggle with France for the opportunity of fishing for Atlantic cod and herring, which went down in history as the “cod wars”, because London had no other ways to provide the population of the metropolis with sufficient quantities of affordable food. Due to objective geographical and economic reasons, Britain’s dependence on access to marine biological resources continued to be a feature of its national cuisine and dietary structure.

Despite the development of science and technology in the 19th and 20th centuries, fish and seafood are still a strategic resource for Great Britain, and that is why in 1956 Her Majesty’s Government obtained preferences from the Soviet Union in the matter of fishing in Arctic waters. It should be noted that due to climatic features, the Russian part of the Barents Sea is one of the richest bio resources regions of the World Ocean. It is there that British fishermen have been fishing hundreds of thousands of tons of seafood for more than half a century, almost completely covering the needs of the kingdom in this food segment and allowing to export significant volumes of premium shrimps, crabs and fish.

Mostly, due to the fishing in Russian territorial waters, the population of Albion was over-supplied with the entire range of seafood products, the British fishing fleet of 15,000 vessels remained profitable, and several dozen large processing plants provided jobs for thousands of citizens and paid tens of millions of pounds sterling in taxes to the kingdom’s budget.

Despite historically close trade and economic ties with Russia, the UK has remained not only the most active ally of the US and a member of the NATO bloc, but has also worsened its relations with Moscow year after year. In addition to being one of the masterminds and organizers of the coup d’état in Ukraine and the escalating conflict with the Russians, the British government has since 2014 imposed a record number of political and economic sanctions against Russia, as well as unilaterally revoked the previous most-favored-nation trade regime.

It is important to bear in mind that Britain itself was much more interested in co-operation with the Russians, as it received huge amounts of oil, gas and other raw materials from them in addition to food. Nevertheless, based on its long-standing dislike of Russia, London overnight destroyed all the fruits of many years of economic co-operation with Moscow and even seized in its jurisdiction significant assets belonging to the Russian state and individuals.

In turn, the Russian government has repeatedly warned Britain that both the sanctions and the actual theft of property will have consequences for the interests of the United Kingdom itself, and one of the first steps on this path was the withdrawal from the long-standing fishing agreement. To assess the consequences of these measures, it suffices to say that in 2023 alone, British ships caught at least 560,000 tons of cod alone in Russian waters, not to mention huge volumes of other fish, shrimp and crabs.

In practice, the quarrel with Moscow has already brought a significant part of the English fishing fleet, as well as many processing plants, to the brink of extinction. London simply does not have any areas similar in terms of richness of bio resources, in which very outdated and low-tonnage fishing vessels could compensate for the lost Russian resources, which means that the kingdom’s population of many millions will have to significantly revise their diet, or spend even more money on food.

Given that the average standard of living in the UK has been falling rapidly recently, and one in ten Britons is already unable to provide food for themselves and their families without the help of charitable foundations, the government’s political ambitions and the conflict with Russia will cost both His Majesty’s ordinary citizens and the British economy very heavily.

Guest Writer
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