Life long Fishermen and Skipper Fred Normandale details how British fishermen were sold out and how the EU is crippling Britain.
From a long established Scarborough fishing family Fred has also written several books vividly detailing his youth, time at sea and the life, community and characters of fishermen in Scarborough who are gone but not forgotten.
Fred’s Vessel Emulator is now one of the few remaining in this once thriving fishing port.
When the UK joined the E.E.C. or ‘Common Market’, we had a thriving fleet of vessels and tens of thousands of fishermen around our coastlines. Then the government of the day surrendered the sovereignty of our fishing waters to Europe.
Soon after this, the European Commission introduced a quota system on all the main species of fish that vessels could catch. These quotas were based on the boats’ historic catches, (track records) allowing vessels to catch no more than they had previously- Subsequently these quotas were reduced by the Commission year on year.
To compound the problem, some European fishermen, quite legitimately, due to nonsensical EU regulations, acquired vessels and licenses registered in British ports. Though not landing in UK ports, this gave them access to UK quotas. Large track records were acquired and built up, meaning British fishermen lost a significant percentage of their dwindling fishing opportunities to Europe.
Due to this the UK fleet became unviable but instead of allowing more fish to the vessels, a decommissioning scheme was introduced to reduce the number of boats. Several more schemes followed this one until the fleet was reduced to a shadow of its former glory.
Even with this huge reduction in the number of boats, quotas were not increased for the remaining vessels. Good men were forced to leave the sea because their earnings were inadequate to keep their families and meet bank and mortgage repayments.
As the number of vessels reduced, ports all round the UK began to lose fish merchants, processors, drivers, engineers, shipwrights, electricians, gear suppliers and the other businesses that make up the complex infrastructure that is fishing. Many ports have now lost their fishing industry forever.
All the decisions relating to fishing quotas and the complex regulations involved are made behind closed doors in Brussels by the EU Commission, with representations being made from member state. The UK minister attends these meetings, but has insufficient clout to gain any meaningful benefit to help Britains remaining fishers.
We are left begging for a share of our own resources as communities go to the wall.
Meanwhile Norway, a non-EU member, retains and administrates its own fish stocks in its own waters for its own fishermen.
If the UK were to leave the EU, our own scientists and politicians, in conjunction with the industry, could set viable, realistic quotas to sustain fish stocks and fishermen with no outside interference from the EU.
The remaining UK fishing industry could then look to a more secure, prosperous future.
BUT, there is a much more fundamental point in the forthcoming referendum campaign than the British fishing industry alone, which is only a very small part of the UKs GNP (gross national product)
When we joined the Common Market, North Sea oil was in its infancy. The huge untapped resources under the sea would yield untold wealth, mostly to the UK and Norway. Move on 40 years and the biggest of the oil reservoirs are almost drained. The value of the remaining stock is down to 1/3 of its former value.
Norway now has an oil wealth fund of 850 billion dollars and is one of the richest countries in the world. In contrast the UK has poured all its oil wealth into the bottomless pit that is the EU.
We are now so financially strapped that we close libraries and old peoples homes.
We can do nothing to prevent our major industries from closing as EU regulations forbid governments to subsidise any production or infrastucture.
We are borrowing money from the Chinese for the massive new rail projects under construction and proposed.
We are begging the French to build new power stations with extortionate power costs for the electricity these will produce.
The UK is indebted for generations to come and yet we are still compelled to find billions annually to pour into the madness that is the EU which prevents us from digging ourselves back out the hole. Where will this revenue come from now our main source of wealth is drying up?
The United Kingdom cannot afford to stay in the European Union. This unelected body that controls more than 500 million people in 28 nations is crippling and bleeding us dry and will continue to do so endlessly while we remain in membership. We must get out.
Editors Note- The comment below is an extract from one of Fred Normandales books which surmises what has happened and how the majority in the industry feel-
‘In 1971 the UK joined the Common Market and control of our national waters and fish stocks (but not oil) was surrendered to Europe. Since that day, year on year our industry has been in decline. Annual quota reductions, and more recently the number of days in which boats can take this meagre allowance, have led to the demise of this wonderful, vibrant industry. Despite numerous decommissioning schemes, reducing the Yorkshire fleet to a shadow of its former strength, the cuts have been unabated. The few remaining fishermen are struggling to survive. Most of the renowned fishing families of my youth are now gone’