From seafood paella in Madrid to Coquilles Saint Jacques in Paris, the latest export figures show seafood caught off our shores has a prominent place on restaurant menus and supermarket shelves across Europe.
Since 2012, the UK's scallop exports to France have leapt by almost 18 per cent to the highest level since records began. Langoustine exports to Mediterranean countries like Spain were worth £80 million and salmon exports, to all 27 EU member states, worth £220 million to the economy in revenue in 2015.
UK fishermen currently have easy access to Europe, free from tariffs or other unnecessary red tape, but outside the EU the potential loss to fish and shellfish exporters could be up to £100m, with an average tariff of 10 per cent.
Commenting on the latest export figures, Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss said: "With the UK exporting twice as much seafood to Europe than to the rest of the world - from scallops to France and langoustines to Spain - £360 million of British seafood is heading for Europe’s markets, making a splash on their menus.
"UK fishermen continue to reap the benefits of easy access, tariff-free, to the world’s largest single market of 500 million consumers. That is why it’s great to see UK companies flying the flag for our fishing industry in Brussels this week and using the opportunity to take advantage of easy access to the EU market."
Today’s figures come as the world’s biggest Seafood Expo kicks off in Brussels this week with more than 140 countries, including the UK, promoting their seafood in an attempt to boost even more exports to Europe.
Exports of all UK fish and fish products to the EU were worth over £900 million to our growing economy in 2015, almost 70 per cent of our total exports for the sector. In total, 60 per cent of our food and drink exports go to the EU, worth over £11billion to our economy.
As part of the EU, the UK has automatic access to member state waters. By leading on the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy, the UK Government delivered a better deal for UK fishermen, securing changes including ending the wasteful practice of discarding, giving power back to countries and fishermen through regional fisheries management, and a legal commitment to fish sustainably.
Sustainable fishing has led to stock recovery, allowing significant quota increases for 2016 in iconic species like cod and haddock in the North Sea and plaice in the English Channel.