Footnote: UK and France have the 2nd and 3rd largest fishing fleets by gross tonnage
EU’s aquatic catches plummeted by 16% since 2002—the year of Common Fisheries Policy reforms. Spain, which saw its annual catch rise by nearly 13% over the same period, has been sailing against the current. The country’s seafarers have even resorted to international piracy and quota hopping in UK waters, driven by depleted domestic stocks, misguided subsidies, and high domestic consumption. Reforms have largely failed to curtail Spain’s conquests. Yet, Brexit could take the wind out of Spain’s sails, as Britain may look to exercise greater control over its territorial waters.