Sunday, 28 October 2018


Fishing for Leave have just posted their response to the Fisheries Bill published last week.

The CFP of “equal access to a common resource”, and “relative stability” shares of internationally agreed Total Allowable Catch (TAC) disproportionately eschewed against the United Kingdom, has deprived British coastal communities of our nations own resources.

Worse, to compound this, ill-founded, arbitrary management was imposed by bureaucracy as misguided as remote. This has wrought environmental and economic damage on a colossal scale that need not have happened.
Often missed or maligned is the degradation, emotional heartache and trauma inflicted upon one of the unique ways of life, communities and heritage within the British Isles. It has been a sad travesty and injustice perpetrated by government of all hues.

Many have seen generations of heritage and the very existence that defines who they and their families are smashed, heartbreakingly, in many instances, probably irretrievably. Brexit provides a huge opportunity to reverse all of the above by repatriating control of our resources and implementing environmentally and economically fit for purpose policy. To that end we welcome many facets of the governments white paper. Especially welcome is acknowledgment that the United Kingdom will be an independent coastal state which presents an opportunity to “implement policy and management on the UK’s terms and for the benefit of UK fishermen”.

Redressing the current arrangements and policy acknowledged as either unsatisfactory, or in need of improvement, is an “acid test” that must be delivered upon. However, we are concerned that the Fisheries White paper is aspirational but significantly lacks detail.

Some of what is written appears to be contradictory, i.e. auctioning repatriated resources vs it being a national resource for public benefit and good.
It is a particularly unsatisfactory (and a legal and diplomatically dangerous statement) that the UK will “move towards” fairer shares away from relative stability. These are instantly our resources upon leaving.

We are also concerned by advocacy of retaining of policies that will never work. Proposals of policies such as auctioning repatriated quota, or the system of allocating resources which cannot be sold for profit to cover for species that would need to be discarded to comply with quota rules, are felt to be illfounded,
ineffectual non-starters by our members and others.

Adoption and continuation of management and policies as is, whether EU or British, will see Brexit be the industries epitaph. Brexit is one unique opportunity to break from 40 years of failure. If political convenience, vested interests or opinion derived from a lack of operational experience of fishing is heeded then fishing will be another British industry consigned to museum and memory.
The paper that follows is written after consultation with not only members of Fishing for Leave but other associations and POs of a similar mind.
The following is what we all in common feel is the detail necessary to implement new, bespoke policy to achieve the proof of the pudding that we believe industry, government, NGOs and importantly the public want to see.

Future British Fisheries policy must facilitate environmentally applicable sustainable management to allow this British industry, and its dependent coastal communities, to rejuvenate and thrive. Through deriving maximum economic benefit from a national resource through a broad range of economic diversity where all fishermen and communities around these islands can prosper for generations to come.

It is vital that government now, for the first time, listens to the practical experience of those at the coal face with unrivalled operational and biological knowledge and does not pander to convenience or virtue signalling. We have been blessed with the opportunity of freedom and independence to decide and write our own future. It cannot be squandered.

Yours sincerely,
Fishing for Leave