Yesterday was a fantastic day for our industry and many of us who have fought so hard to see the day when we would serve notice to leave the EU and the CFP.
The triggering or Article 50 represents the culmination of a dogged fight and resistance by a select number of patriots.
It represents the start of our country becoming a sovereign, independent, self governing nation where our people are able to decide their own future and destiny.
Hopefully Brexit is a 2nd great break from continental absolutism and starts a renewal of our nation and sovereignty and nowhere can this have greater effect than in our industry.
After 40 years of pain and hurt, of seeing 60% of the UK fleet scrapped, generation old fishing families driven to the wall and 100 year old communities decimated due to deliberate political neglect by a political establishment beholden to the EU the golden opportunity of a fresh start to revitalise our industry and communities and way of life is within touching distance.
The triggering of Article 50 represents the start of an irrevocable process whereby after the 2 year time limit elapses the “treaties shall cease to apply”, as per the terms of this treaty, and the UK will be free of the EU and the entire CFP”.
Unless the government betrays the industry by continuing the CFP by adopting it into UK law with the Great “Repeal” Bill we will have a clean slate to implement our own fit for purpose UK policy.
We have a golden opportunity to now implement economically and environmentally fit for purpose UK fisheries management as FFL details in our Policy.
To build policy that allows catch less land more, ends the cause of discards, avoids choke species, and works and benefits all fishermen and communities large and small by ending the artificial consolidation and robbing peter to pay paul we have been forced into under the CFP.
A year ago it would have seemed incomprehensible to all but a few politically acute that we would leave the EU. This has come despite many in the industry saying we could only ever work with Europe.
We hope that FFL helped in the result, with the Flotilla up the Thames being one of the only industry demonstrations that has helped buy our industry prominence and political capital.
Hopefully yesterday is the start of the herculean efforts of a few who put the campaign together at short notice to speak for the industry when others would, pay off.
Many in FFL have fought an unremitting campaign over decades to see this day, being at the forefront of the movement to free our country with FAL.
A special mention should go to Tom Hay, John Ashworth, Roddy McColl, John Thomson, Leslie Girvan, Magnie Stewart, Sandy Patience and others who have tirelessly and nobly fought for this day, sadly in the face of derision from those who should have supported UK withdrawal.
Much of the knowledge they identified through months of studious research has now come to the fore and is helping enlighten government who have become institutionalised to EU centric thinking.
FFL will now continue to veraciously fight to secure the a bright new future so we can rejuvenate a way of life and heritage that has nearly been lost.
Yesterday really does represent the start of what is hopefully the industries Great Escape and the Final Countdown.