Sunday, 12 June 2016

In protest! British fishing boats to sail up the river Thames on June the 15th.

Why SW fishermen are joining other British fishermen in a flotilla on the Thames on 15th June 2016?

Britain’s membership of the European Union has been the subject of heated debate not just recently, but for decades. Inevitably, when arguments focus on the impacts of decisions taken by Ministers, the British fishing industry is cited as the most significant innocent victim, where wider “gains” for Britain, the nation, led to sacrifices by others. Indeed, one politician described the fishing industry as “expendable” in the negotiations leading to our joining the EEC in January 1972. “Equal access to a common resource without discrimination” had been agreed in June 1970 by the original “six” Member States. The “die” was cast and our greatest national living resource was grabbed!

What was once a great British Fishing Industry has been brought to its knees by this CFP! 10,295 fishing boats reduced to 6,406. 20,757 fishermen reduced to 12,450 and falling.

Now some of the remaining British boats are rallying behind the Fishing for Leave / Vote Leave campaign in anticipation of the referendum on 23rd June. Jim Portus, the Chief Executive of the South Western Fish Producer Organisation Ltd said, “Flotillas up the Thames have happened before, but none since 1975 has had the possibility of influencing the outcome of a referendum.

In 1975 Britain’s fishermen asked for an exclusive 50 miles limit and an appropriate “Lion’s share” of the fishing quotas based on the amount of fish living in UK waters.

Politicians sacrificed the fishing industry by securing only the 6 miles limit for the exclusive use of the UK fishermen and only won a derisory share of the quotas.

Since that deal of treachery, the main (over 10m) fleet has shrunk by 65% and much of the remainder is owned by “Brass Plate” “Quota-hopping” companies giving little or no economic benefit to the UK, whose flag they fly.

Ports of Fleetwood, Milford Haven, Lowestoft and Grimsby now have no home fleets and are shadows of once-great fishing activity and trade. The owners of the boats that have made the trip to the Thames represent the few remaining thriving fishing ports. From Fraserburgh in Scotland to Cawsand in Cornwall, the flotilla of up to 45 boats carry with them the hopes of the estimated 92% of British fishermen who will Vote Leave on 23rd June. On 15th June, fishermen all over Britain, including N Ireland will be flying “Fishing for Leave” flags in support of their colleagues who have made the trip to the Thames. With a fair wind and good fortune, the votes counted on 23rd June will grant at long last to the British fishing industry the Freedom to control their own destiny.

Free of EU control, we will have a new policy to help restore our fishery and allocate greater quota to UK vessels, when George Eustice delivers on his promises.

For more information on the protest contact JIM PORTUS, CEO SWFPO LTD. 
Tel 07860542071.

Jim will be in London with colleagues, John Butterwith, SBf’s John Ashworth and Fishing for Leave’s Aaron Brown from 0930 on 15th June to meet and greet the fishing vessel flotilla at HMS Belfast above Tower Bridge. 

Aaron Brown is on 07407266658 (Aaron is a fishing skipper from Scotland and who leads the Fishing for Leave campaign)