Prices at fish and chip shops across the UK will have to increase to cover a rise in the cost of cod if Britain crashes out of the EU with no free trade deal, according to a new report.
In the event of a hard Brexit, investment bank Rabobank claims that tariffs placed on imports of the country’s most popular seafood would range between 7.5% and 18%.
The firm’s report, Fishing for Answers II, says future prices would depend on whether the Government is able to sign free trade agreements with not just the EU, but other countries on the continent.
Key deals would be with Iceland, which is the UK’s biggest cod supplier, and Norway and the Faroe Islands, which help make up more than half of cod imports.
Prepared and preserved fish, the main type used in fish and chip shops, accounts for almost £100m in imports and carries the highest tariffs.
Frozen fillets, which make up over £340 million of imports, bear the lowest tariffs.
Rabobank animal protein analyst Beyhan De Jong 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.
“An ocean of uncertainty awaits the UK’s seafood industry should it fail to negotiate trade deals with its neighbours.”
If such tariffs were imposed, the report speculates that the UK could retaliate.
One such move would be to introduce hefty tariffs on Scottish salmon, herring and mackerel, which are all popular in Europe.