The Fishing for Leave campaign aims to highlight the achievements, dynamism and determination of the UK fishing industry, and to inform the general British public how much better things could, and should, be if their country is released from the top-down central control exerted by the EU.
The independent campaign will also highlight the indignities and devastation wrought to the UK fishing industry by the fatally flawed CFP, and underline the betrayal of a critical national resource to a public who remain unaware of this national tragedy, and in doing so, hopes to feed support and momentum to the wider leave campaign.
The idea for ‘Fishing For leave’ was put forward by skipper Aaron Brown (Achieve BF 233) earlier this month, since when he has been supported by a number of very experienced skippers and fishermen’s representatives from as far afield as Shetland, south to Newlyn, and from Fraserburgh across the Irish Sea to Kilkeel. Before ‘Fishing for Leave’ was even launched, more than 40 vessels, including demersal, pelagic and shellfish boats, had joined the campaign as word of mouth spread around the fleet. This initial strong groundswell of support is expected to rapidly gain further momentum as the campaign was unveiled.
Aaron Brown said: “We have brought together a core of administrators/contributors from all round Britain and from every sector. This will provide a national network for people to liaise with, and facilitate a nationwide campaign for the whole industry. We aim to represent every sector and region, and bring different aspects and knowledge to the fray. This will allow everyone to have their voice heard and lend their shoulder to the wheel.
The campaign will not only convey the hard figures of fishing, but also portray the community aspect that underpins the industry. “Fishing for Leave is an independent campaign set up by people in the fishing industry for people in the fishing industry, to provide a voice for the whole industry, no matter what size or sector, and to fight veraciously and tenaciously for our way of life and very publicly thunder – We’re Not Going to Take it Anymore!
“We aim to have a dynamic, interactive campaign to take the fishing industry’s point of view to the wider public, utilising a website, film and social media.
“We will be working in conjunction with the main players in the Leave campaign through mutual co-operation and support, to get our voices heard across the public domain.
“The overriding goal in doing so, through and with the voice of the industry, is to ensure the restoration of the sovereignty of our parliament and people, and, with that, the restoration of our waters to national control. For too long we have been made to beg for the scraps of our own fish from the EU table at Brussels.
“Britain leaving the EU will see an automatic restoration of the 200nm/mid-line boundaries, bringing everything within our waters back into our jurisdiction, and leave behind a regime where our national resource is horse-traded away as part of a political project before our eyes. Fundamental international law recognises the sea and its resources as being as much a part of the country as the land. However these rights were surrendered on Britain joining the EU and became a common EU resource. Rather than being a common pot of fish, it is British and therefore it is only within the power of our parliament to decide who gets what quota.”
“The industry has such an opportunity for a bright future. We have the stocks, the skill, the knowledge, the boats, the infrastructure and the commitment for this industry to flourish for the benefit of future generations of fishermen.
“Is taking the slight risk of leaving, and the subsequent re-adjustment this will entail, not worth ending the nightmare the industry has had to endure?
“If we are half the people our ancestors once were, now’s the time to reach out with both hands and fight for the opportunity to save everything we are. Our industry has been sacrificed to the EU by complicit politicians and consequently decimated through deliberate political neglect. Will we be the generation who throws away a great country many fought so hard for, with an apathetic shrug of the shoulders?”
“Therefore we appeal to each and every boat, business and individual to sign up to support and assist Fishing for Leave. Let us go forward together with this campaign to unite the industry under a broad banner. To use our collective strength to fight to free our country and in doing so, Save Britain’s Fish.”
For further details of the ‘Fishing for leave’ campaign, including an application form, constitution details and fund raising merchandise, go to ffl.org.uk