Foreigners to net UK fish after Brexit

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A fisherman dries his nets in Folkestone after a 12-hour shift. Many British quotas are sold overseas

Britain’s fish will still belong to Europe after Brexit — because Spain, Holland and Iceland have bought up nearly 90% of the entire fishing quota of Wales and more than half the quota assigned to England.

Foreign owners of the fishing rights have also set up UK businesses to hold the quota, making meaningful change unlikely after the country leaves the EU.

The revelation is in fishery statistics from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), run by Michael Gove. The environment secretary’s civil servants were compiling the data at the same time as he was claiming that leaving Europe would let Britain “take back control” of its seas.

The admission follows last week’s transition deal, which will keep the UK in the…

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