EU, Britain and the Sea briefing to raise critical maritime issues ahead of EU Referendum

British maritime experts will gather to debate critical issues on fisheries, shipping and maritime security left hanging in the balance ahead of the EU referendum.

The EU, Britain and the Sea briefing on June 09 at the Naval Club, Hill Street, London, will shine a spotlight on EU maritime relations and in particular how the In/Out Referendum may affect Britain’s diverse maritime sector.

The event will hear from luminaries including UK Chamber of Shipping Director of Policy David Balston, naval historian Peter Hore, former Navy officer and strategic adviser Chris Parry CBE, York University lecturer Dr Bryce Stewart, marine consultant Teresa Portmann and Windship Technology director Lars Carlsson.

Julian Parker OBE, chairman of the Maritime Foundation responsible for organising the event, said the briefing will provide a unique platform to explore key UK maritime issues.

“The aim of this briefing session is increase participation and broaden understanding of the main issues which affect our maritime sector in the run up to the EU referendum,” said Mr Parker. “While the EU debate rages on, we are keen to gather experts who can provide detailed insight on the maritime sector specifically.

“We will consider Britain’s engagement with Europe and why there can be confusion and disagreement about ends and means. We will look to clarify the differences between expectation, self-interest, national and regional government, global influences and realistic outcomes.

“At our core, the Maritime Foundation is a charity promoting Britain’s interests across the entire maritime sector. Our main purpose is to inform and raise public and parliamentary awareness of the importance of Britain’s maritime industries, commerce and defence. This is why we feel passionately that the maritime sector is central to the EU referendum debate.”

Speaking ahead of the event UK Chamber of Shipping Director of Policy David Balston said: “For generations the British Isles have exploited the sea to move trade. Those who work in the industry will know that shipping moves 95pc of the UK’s international trade which fundamentally underpins our national economy and facilitates our place in a global economic community.

“So trading with our neighbours, friends and partners around the world is nothing new. It was not founded by the Treaty of Rome, and nor will it disappear if the UK is no longer subject to it. But for the last 40 years, when we have talked about trade, we have talked about the European Union. The movement of goods, people and services has driven the political project.

“The UK needs to focus on what works about the European Union, and what does not. It also needs to review, from a shipping perspective, the EU deal that the PM brokered in February. Access to the single market has helped to drive growth in trade with our closest neighbours, and the loss of tariffs and increased competition in the supply chain has boosted custom, driven down costs and allowed the conditions for job creation, economic and social progress to thrive.

“It is for the ‘out campaign’ to argue that our resignation from the EU would not hinder such progress in the future. However, barriers still remain and the single market is not yet complete. The attitude of EC appears to be ‘regulate where possible’ and not ‘regulate where necessary’. Those aspects that hinder shipping need to be addressed as well those where more EU action is needed rather than less.”

Meanwhile, York Lecturer Dr Stewart said leaving the EU would likely set back recent improvements in fisheries management and risk crucial trading partnerships, without providing any overall benefits to the UK fishing industry.

“Recent reforms to the EU Common Fisheries Policy have addressed many of its previous weaknesses and the majority of UK fish stocks are now being fished sustainably,” he said. “Shared management of many UK fisheries would also still be necessary after a Brexit.”

Marine consultant Teresa Portmann said UK fishermen have felt unfairly treated by the Common Fisheries Policy from the beginning.

“Many see the opportunity to leave the EU as the pathway to better fishing opportunities from larger shares of fisheries quotas, less competition from EC vessels fishing in UK waters and less restrictions on catches from EC regulations more broadly,” she said. “We will be using the briefing to discuss if Brexit could offer this and whether a post-Brexit UK Government could deliver this, or are UK fishermen being sold an ideology that would not and could not be delivered.”

Speaking on maritime security naval historian Peter Hore said after two terrible world wars, Churchill was the first to declare that we must build a kind of United States of Europe which directly resulted in European leaders setting up the European Coal and Steel Community to make war impossible ever again.

“He did not however envisage Britain being fully integrated in a federated Europe and more often referred to the importance of the English-speaking peoples,” said Mr Hore. “Will the outcome of the In/Out Referendum turn the British Lion into a toothless pussycat inside an unreformed EU?

“We will be using the Britain and the Sea platform to debate whether Britain will become the pussycat whose interests can be ignored in a headless rush towards ever-closer political union. Or whether the British Lion become a wild cat outside the EU, free to pursue policies tailored to its interests.”

Further details are available on the dedicated website

Notes to editors:


1030–1100 Coffee
1100 FISHERIES – Dr Bryce Stewart, York University; Miss Teresa Portmann, Marine consultant, former M/D of Scott Trawlers;
1200 SHIPPING – Mr David Balston, Director, UK Chamber of Shipping; Mr Lars Carlsson, Director of Windship Technology Ltd, former MD of the Stena Group tanker company Concordia Maritime AB and Chairman of Intertanko;
1300 Lunch
1400 MARITIME SECURITY – Mr Peter Hore, Naval historian and former Head of Defence Studies;
Rear Admiral Chris Parry CBE, Security advisor and author of Superhighway: Sea Power in the 21st Century;
1500 Conclusion. Tea served

Speaker biographies

  • Bryce Stewart, Lecturer, Environment Department York University – Bryce is a marine ecologist and fisheries biologist whose work has ranged from temperate estuaries to tropical coral reefs and the deep-sea. The central thread in his work has been to gain an increased understanding of the factors regulating marine populations and communities so as to ensure their sustainable utilisation. He has also been especially active in promoting and assessing the sale and consumption of sustainable seafood by working with everyone from government ministers to fishermen, restaurants and supermarket chains. Recently he wrote the fisheries chapter in a large expert review on the environmental implications of the UK leaving the EU.
  • David Balston, Director of Policy, UK Chamber of Shipping – David joined the Chamber of Shipping in 2010 as Director Safety & Environment. His team seeks to deliver a regulatory climate that maintains high environmental and safety standards for British shipping companies without competitive disadvantage. He is also the Director of the British Rig Owner’s Association. In 2014 he was also appointed Director of Policy and as such has responsibility and oversight of all Chamber policy areas. Prior to the Chamber David served in the Royal Navy. He commanded three submarines including a Trident submarine carrying the UK’s strategic deterrent. During a varied career he also worked in the Cabinet Office as the Prime Minister’s adviser on nuclear deterrent, NATO and EU military matters.
  • Lars Carlsson, Director of Windship Technology Ltd – Lars graduated in Business Economics and was the managing director of the Stena Group tanker company, Concordia Maritime AB for over 20 years. He was chairman of Intertanko, the global tanker owner organisation and of SEAaT, Shipping Emissions Abatement and Trading – an environment group working to reduce harmful emissions from ships whose main partners are Shell, BP and ten large shipping companies. Lars and his wife Christina retired to Herefordshire in 2007. He is an executive Director of Windship Technology Limited.
  • Peter Hore, Naval Historian and Associate Editor of Warships International Fleet Review – Peter served in the Royal Navy from 1962 to 2000, mostly in frigates and destroyers. He is a fluent linguist who also plays chess and sailed for the Royal Navy. During the Falklands Conflict, he was Joint Logistics Controller on Ascension Island, and he headed both the Royal Navy’s Applied Research Programme and its Non-Technical Research Programmes. His last appointment was as Head of Defence Studies during HMG’s Strategic Defence Review, including the rewriting of British Maritime Strategy, and the launch of a new concept of operations, the Maritime Contribution to Joint Operations. Peter is now Associate Editor of Warships International Fleet Review, op-ed writer for Newsday in New York, and an obituarist for the Daily Telegraph in London.
  • Chris Parry CBE, Writer and Strategic Adviser – Chris spent 36 enjoyable, rewarding years in the Royal Navy as an aviator and warfare office, including command, operational and combat experience. Nowadays, he runs his own strategic forecasting company, advising governments, leading commercial companies and banks about strategic issues, future trends and systemic risk. He is also an internationally recognized thought leader with regard to the current and future of all aspects of the maritime and marine sectors. He published his influential ‘Super Highway: Sea Power in the 21st Century’ which won the 2015 Desmond Wettern Maritime Media Award.
  • Teresa Portmann, Marine consultant – Terri has a strong back ground going back some fifteen years working within the fishing industry. She now works as a Marine Consultant on fisheries issues and more broadly regulations, management and licensing in the marine environment.