Newlyn Fish Market - boats due to land.

Friday, 27 February 2015

Greenpeace on a mission to save sustainable fishing and fish stocks with tour starting at Porthleven

On a mission to save our local, sustainable fishing industry and fish stocks, Greenpeace and fishermen are undertaking a mammoth pre-election tour by sea. They will stop in twenty five ports in key marginal constituencies around the English and Welsh coast that hold the key to winning the upcoming general election.

With the New Under Tens Fishermen’s Association (NUTFA), Greenpeace will sail their fishing boat, the Rising Tide, to the ports where fishing has a proud history and are in constituencies that have been identified to be among the tightest election races in the country. The two month epic election tour will encompass over fifty constituencies to put pressure on candidates to become coastal champions.

The tour will launch from Porthleven in West Cornwall on Saturday where there will be a boat naming and flag raising ceremony. Both the events in Porthleven and Plymouth will combine a family friendly atmosphere with face painters, games and a photography exhibition of local fishermen from around the UK with the chance for people to ask questions of their MPs and candidates on the vital local issue of regenerating the local, sustainable fishing industry.

The Rising Tide will stop later in the week at the ports of Mevagissey and Looe. People will be able to attend evening public meetings where they can quiz their MP and candidates about whether their fishing policies will put local fishermen first. .

. Hannah Martin, Greenpeace campaigner said: “During the tour, hundreds of MPs and candidates will be invited to the events and pledge to become coastal champions. They will need to answer tough questions and convince voters that they will put local, sustainable fishermen first if they win the next election. Greenpeace will expose the MPs and candidates who fail to make the grade as this will clearly show the differences between the political parties on this vital local issue. These events are not to be missed, look out for the Rising Tide as we bring the election trail to the coast and force candidates to promise to put local fishermen first.”

Flags bearing the name of the port will be signed by the new coastal champions and will be flown on the Rising Tide throughout the tour. Everyone attending the events can sign bunting which by the end of the trip will reach over 300 meters long and will be covered in thousands of signatures. The tour will culminate just days before the election in the Fisheries Minister George Eustice’s constituency of Hayle. The campaigners are hoping that the Minister will respond to the breadth of support for the campaign from the public and cross party MPs and candidates as the government is failing to implement the Common Fisheries Policy in a way that benefits local fishermen and the environment.

Greenpeace launched the campaign ‘Our net gain’ in November last year with the shocking statistic that nearly half of the English quota is used by foreign industrial fishing corporations. While a meagre six per cent is given to local, low impact fishermen who fish sustainably and directly contribute to local economies. Greenpeace believes that through putting pressure in these key coastal battle grounds is a prime opportunity to force the next government to finally put local fishermen first in the queue for fishing quota.

Hannah Martin, Greenpeace campaigner said: “This is a huge effort to force the next government to end the historic neglect of local fishermen and fix a broken system which has led to the fishing quota ending up in the hands of foreign and industrial-scale fishing businesses. This has led to a crisis of the seas and coastal economies that can be turned around if enough MPs become coastal champions. The next government should implement new EU fishing law that says more fishing quota should be given to sustainable fishermen. That will create and protect jobs, inject cash into the economy and boost fish stocks.”

Greenpeace want to get as many politicians as possible to sign up as coastal champions - dedicated to promoting our five point action plan - in the run up to the general election: Give local, sustainable boats a fair share of quota Restore fish stocks by rewarding selective fishing methods Protect the ocean in a way that benefits local fishermen and coastal communities Give local, sustainable boats priority access to coastal waters Make sure small scale fishermen are represented at the highest level in Europe The tour will continue round the south coast stopping at Lyme Regis, Weymouth, Bournemouth, Portsmouth, Brighton, Hastings and Ramsgate over the next few weeks. The tour will cover East Anglia, the North East, North West and Wales, before arriving back in Cornwall.