A year ago today the Fishing for Leave flotilla proceeded up the Thames to the heart of our capital in London with 30 vessels in support of the campaign to free our nation from the EU.
The flotilla was the most prominent demonstration of the entire Brexit campaign. These vessels, representing all sizes and sectors from all areas of our island, came together and united our industry as never before.
Taking our industry, communities and way of life’s cry for a better future right to the heart of the capital and government -some suggested it was the difference in the vote.
These vessels and their crews made a tremendous effort and sacrifice. They should be forever proud that they answered their country’s when others shamefully would not.
The sight of all types and sizes of vessels from all areas of the country proceeding through an icon of Britain at Tower Bridge made many hearts swell with pride and eyes fill with tears.
From the inception every step was calculated to help with Brexit and to put fishing back on the political and public map. We have continued unabated since, representing our industry vociferously in the corridors of power.
Had it not been for Fishing for Leave there would have been no voice for the most pro-Brexit industry.
A few individuals strained every sinew at short notice to make sure that the campaign and flotilla happened with absolutely no support from the bodies that purport to represent the industry such as the SFF and NFFO.
When polls showed that 92% of fishermen were in favour of leaving the EU the SFF and NFFO continued their ambivalence towards British withdrawal and hid behind the guise of ‘neutrality’ despite their members crying to escape the EU.
The same individuals who opposed UK withdrawal for 20 years, and who have presided over the decimation of the industry, would still not speak up for British withdrawal when the opportunity arose.
They should hang their heads in shame that after 20 years of opposing and slandering Fishing for Leave and FAL they have the audacity and temerity to say they speak for the industry and to pretend they understand the situation.
Fishing for Leave will continue undaunted and unabated to lead the way on Brexit as we have done since the vote.
We alone have highlighted and succeeded on challenging the issues of the London Fisheries Convention 1964, the Great Repeal Bill and the ambiguous wording of the conservative manifesto meaning waters only to 12 miles not 200.
We have detailed the level of resources that should be repatriated to Britain and have published a comprehensive 140 page policy textbook.
British independence allows the repatriation of our greatest renewable resource to rejuvenate our coastal communities and a £6.3bn pound industry.
Brexit and the will of the people cannot be backslid on post election.
We must not merely continue with the status quo for the sake of political convenience and to placate a small minority of vested interests – Future policy must benefit ALL not just the few.
As we look back, it is a great honour and privilege to know that all involved answered our industry and country’s call and put the industry back on the agenda.
It is an honour and privilege to know such a small group of individuals who have worked tirelessly and tenaciously for no reward, with great knowledge, courage and perseverance to make it all happen. A huge thank you to each and every person all round the country who has given their time, effort and expertise.
Each and every one who made the effort should be extremely proud of what they have achieved and the industry owes them a debt of gratitude.
FFL will continue to go forward to ensure a future for our industry and communities is achieved and not surrendered or squandered.