Seafish is now set for a Supreme Court showdown in its battle to retain its levy on imported fish.

The Sea Fish Industry Authority and Defra last year won a High Court case against British Seafood, which challenged the levy as illegal. However, in April the Court of Appeal overturned the ruling, leaving Seafish facing a massive shortfall in income.

Defra went to the Supreme Court where judges granted leave to appeal. It throws a potential lifeline to Seafish, which in the meantime has survived on levies charged on domestically caught fish, propped up by emergency funding from Defra. Seafish remained convinced its grounds for appeal were sound, said chief executive John Rutherford, who was hopeful that the levy on imports would be restored.

Discussions with government on interim support and its long-term future continued, he added.