Repatriation of British fishing rights will be the ‘acid test for Brexit,” predicts founder of the Fishing for Leave campaign.
His statement came at a meeting with Cornwall and Devon fishermen at Penzance last week reports Phil Lockley in the Fishing News.
He told them: “Throughout the referendum campaign Fishing for Leave were the only group that spoke-up for the fishermen of Britain”. “What we saw on the demonstration of fishing boats on the River Thames was Bob Geldof, who, in his outbursts, epitomised the attitude of the metropolitan elite toward the fishing industry.”
“They had the temerity to send a multi-millionaire out to shout down fishermen, who are really struggling, and tell them they were actually well-off under the CFP.”
“That is part of the reason why Fishing for Leave will keep going, to pressure the government to make sure fishing isn’t shunned and sacrificed a second time”.
We have a wonderful, fantastic opportunity to re-vitalise and rebuild the UK fishing industry and coastal communities. We must ensure that the potential is realised, not squandered by continuing with the status quo for political convenience and vested interests.”
At the core to the presentation, were the details of Fishing for Leave’s two main points; how to Leave with a clean break and what a future fit for purpose UK policy should be.
He highlighted the grave danger that the adoption of all EU laws would see the dysfunctional CFP adopted into UK law with little parliamentary will to deal with fishing. Therefore, fisheries should be exempted from the Great Repeal Bill proposed by the government to allow a clean break under Article 50 with the treaties and consequently the CFP ceasing to apply.
He also highlighted Fishing for Leaves proposed ‘days at sea’ alternative that provides a transition away from the quota system, saying: “We need to deliver an environmentally and economically ‘fit for purpose’ policy that works and includes all sizes and sectors”.
“The current quota regime doesn’t work in the highly mixed demersal fisheries around the UK and has led to mass discards and a consolidation onto ever fewer boats”.
“Adopting the current quota system would see the industry trapped in a pincer movement between the discard ban and continuing relative stability quota shares for the EU in UK waters.”
“Sadly, we have a minority of people within this industry who are blinded by vested interests, they don’t want to rock the boat as they feel they have three square meals a day. They cannot see the bigger picture that a clean Brexit, repatriating all resources, and a future for policy to benefit all includes them too.
“We are going to have to struggle not only against political interests, who could trade-away this potential for political convenience, but those within the industry who would prefer to see a continuation of the status quo. The status quo is not good enough”
“The fishing industry must ensure that our voices are heard, that the golden opportunities to rebuild the industry and coastal communities is realised and that Brexit is Brexit.”
He reminded the audience that the CFP has caused environmental and economic devastation on a colossal scale and British fishermen, the fishing infrastructure and fishing communities destroyed, saying: “How many fishing boats are left in Aberdeen – Aberdeen no longer has a fishing industry, Ayr is gone, Grimsby is gone, Hull is gone, Lowestoft too; I’m sure we could make a long list of port-after-port all around the UK where the industry no longer exists”.
“We cannot allow this to continue and through Fishing for Leave we must put pressure on the government to get back what is rightfully ours, British waters and British fisheries resources within those waters.”
A full report will be in Fishing News soon.