Coronavirus could see hundreds of fishermen “go bust in the next two weeks” unless there is urgent government intervention, ministers have been warned.
The industry has been rocked in recent days as demand from export markets and the domestic restaurant trade has dried up due to the outbreak.
Labour’s shadow environment minister Ruth Jones, speaking in the Commons, warned that without government help the whole sector could be in danger.
She said: “In just the last week the market value of fish landed by British fishers has fallen in value to 20% of normal rates. There are significant concerns about the viability of the UK fishing industry, especially small boats which are the backbone of the British fleet.
“Many fishers are telling us they will go bust in the next two weeks.”
She called on UK Environment Secretary George Eustice to take “whatever steps are necessary to support fishers and the fishing industry to cope with the pressures of the Covid-19 crisis”.
Mr Eustice said the best way to help fishermen was to “get the markets moving again”.