The fishing industry

How will Brexit affect the Spanish fishing industry?

Various elements of the Spanish fishing fleet operate in waters under the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom. In addition, Spanish capital investments have been made in UK companies in this industry. All of these would be affected, to a greater or lesser extent, by Brexit.

The fish farming sector represents a small proportion of Spanish trade with the United Kingdom, and therefore alternative markets for supply and export could readily be found.

The ultimate goal for the fishing sector is to maintain a relationship with the United Kingdom that is as close as possible to the current situation, that is, to maintain the status quo.

If there is an agreement, the EU fleet and the UK fleet will continue to have mutual access to their respective fishing grounds. During the transition period, the European Union and the United Kingdom will negotiate the conditions of access to these waters and the markets that will come into force after 31 December 2020 or following the date established in any extension agreed upon.

If there is no agreement, the EU fleet must leave the waters of the United Kingdom and the UK fleet (including Spanish-owned boats) will have to leave EU waters.

In the latter case, under Regulation (EU) No. 508/2014, on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, financial assistance may be provided to compensate for a temporary cessation of activity by the boats affected, for a maximum period of nine months

Further information about this proposal can be found at the following link: European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.

Will Spanish boats be able to continue fishing in UK waters?

If there is an agreement, in principle fishing can continue as before in UK waters, at least until 31 December 2020.

If there is no agreement, Spanish boats will no longer be able to operate in waters under the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom, as of 30 March 2019.

In either situation, a fisheries agreement will be negotiated with the aim of enabling Spanish boats to continue fishing in UK waters from the moment at which this would not otherwise be possible.

However, to address the case of a no-deal Brexit, Regulation (EU) 2017/2403 on the sustainable management of external fishing fleets has been amended to allow EU vessels to continue fishing in UK waters (and vice versa). This amendment to the Regulation also ensures that the quota transfers (swaps) normally carried out each year between EU Member States and the United Kingdom can continue to be performed without hindrance.

Further information about this proposal can be found at the following link: Fishing authorisations.

Will it be possible to use UK ports to unload and disembark?

If there is an agreement, UK ports may continue to be used under the same conditions as before, until 31 December 2020.

If there is no agreement, the United Kingdom will treat EU vessels as third country vessels for the purpose of access to UK ports.

How will Brexit affect fishing quotas?

For 2019, the quotas already adopted will apply, whether or not the withdrawal agreement has been ratified.

If there is an agreement, the quotas that are adopted in the European Union will also be applied to the United Kingdom in 2020.

If there is no agreement, from 2020 fishing quotas will be negotiated within the European Union as usual, and as with other third countries, the quotas that are jointly managed with the United Kingdom will be negotiated.

At the same time, a fisheries agreement must be negotiated with the United Kingdom to establish, among other matters, the quotas that correspond to each party and the system of access to the fishing grounds of the UK and of the EU.

Further information about the measures that the British government will implement in case of non-agreement, can be found at the following links:



Agricultura, Pesca y Alimentación en España 2019

Memoria anual del MAPA

Fotografía fachada Ministerio. Cariátides. Foto: Valentín Álvarez.


Ministerio de Agricultura, Pesca y Alimentación


Acceso directo

Imagen acceso directo igualdad de género
Acceso directo área infantil - Foto CENEAM