Mike Hookem MEP and “Fishing For Leave” have been warning about this sell-out, writing this and campaigning about for months. Now it’s become evident (see e.g. this article): Ms May’s government is going to sell out our remaining Fishery Industry, using it as sacrifice in the Brexit negotiations – just as her predecessor, Mr Edward Heath did when negotiating our EU entry. With few exceptions, The Tories are apparently ok with that (‘Fish and chips? So uncouth, my dear!?) and Labour MPs couldn’t care less: our fishermen do not belong to the preferred Labour clientele and are mostly white men – and it’s “Wimmins Day” today anyway …
Below are two statements which should help to fire you up. The first is a press statement from Mike Hookem MEP which, surprise surprise, doesn’t get a look-in in the MSM:
Mike Hookem, a member of the powerful PECH (Fisheries) committee in the European Parliament who has been campaigning for Britain to claim it’s 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and to end the hated Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) – said:
“The EU have confirmed that UK fishing is the price of post-Brexit trade deal. New European Council guidelines demand “reciprocal access and resources” in UK fishing waters for market access, blasting the European Council after it demanded “reciprocal access to fishing waters and resources” in return for granting a post-Brexit, zero-tariff trade deal.*) and observing on the latest European Council demand which came in response to Theresa May’s Mansion House speech last week, in which the Prime Minister signalled she was ready to capitulate to EU demands to keep British waters open to EU fishing vessels following the UK’s EU exit.
This is nothing more than the EU bullyboys showing their true colours and trying to strip the UK of one of its richest natural resources. I have been saying for many months that EU institutions would make continued access to British waters and fishing resources a bargaining chip in Brexit negotiations, yet, all warnings have been ignored by ministers.
According to the UK’s Marine Management Organisation (MMO), EU vessels caught 683,000 tonnes of fish in British waters in the last year, worth over £484 million before processing.
With a weak Prime Minister and feeble range of Ministers at the helm of negotiations, what hope do our already embattled and embittered coastal communities have of a post-Brexit renascence for the UK fishing industry.
All my warnings have fallen on deaf ears, while the Government has time and again refused to give any details on their promise to leave the hated CFP.
How will leaving the CFP make any positive difference for the British fishing industry if all the rules are still set by Brussels, along with the UK’s share of what can be caught in our own waters!
It’s a disgraceful situation and nothing more than a grab to secure EU dominance of UK fishing for many years to come.
The European Council’s latest demand acts as confirmation that unless Theresa ‘the Appeaser’ can show some steel, and stand up to the EU bullyboys, then we don’t have any hope of reclaiming our seas and keeping what remains of our ravaged fishing industry.
However, I’m in no doubt that Mrs May will roll-over and allow the EU to continue its dominance of the UK’s fishing industry even after we leave the bloc.
Given these ridiculous demands, my message to Theresa May is to show some British spirit and tell the EU where to go.
It is about time the Prime Minister realised that the proud British people are sick and tired of being pushed around by the ‘cultured thugs’ of the EU and reclaiming our fishing industry would be a bloody good place to start the fightback!
*) European Council response to Theresa May’s Mansion House speech:
”As regards the core of the economic relationship, the European Council confirms its readiness to initiate work towards a free trade agreement (FTA), to be finalised and concluded once the UK is no longer a Member State. Such an agreement cannot offer the same benefits as Membership and cannot amount to participation in the Single Market or parts thereof. This agreement would address: […] i) trade in goods, with the aim of covering all sectors, which should be subject to zero tariffs and no quantitative restrictions with appropriate accompanying rules of origin. In this context, existing reciprocal access to fishing waters and resources should be maintained.”
We have published appeals and articles from “Fishing For Leave” regularly on this issue. Here is their statement:
The EU demands in the leaked EU Council Draft Guidelines for the 22nd March that a condition of a Free Trade Agreement is that:
“existing reciprocal access to fishing waters and resources should be maintained”.
Fishermen were scathing in their criticism of the EUs opportunism, cynicism and hypocrisy. F4: highlight that the UK government caving to this demand is a big “acid test” of whether the government has any intention or resolve of fulfilling its manifesto pledge to leave the CFP in March 2019 as Fisheries Minister George Eustice and DEFRA Secretary of State have continually reiterated. Spokesman Alan Hastings says:
This is cynical and hypocritical in equally big measures. Nowhere else is access to fisheries included as negotiating collateral for a free trade agreement. For an EU that’s keen to avoid ‘cherry picking’ they are after the sweetest of them all – to continue pillaging £3-4 billion pounds of fish from our rich resources that were sacrificed to the EU to join.
That means there is no legal basis for this demand! Article 50 unequivocally terminates the CFP on March 2019 and all our waters and resources automatically return to us on withdrawal. The only way fishing can be included is if Our government capitulates to this demand and sacrifices what’s left of Britain’s fishing.
The EU has put a gun to Mrs May’s head with this demand which is now an immediate “acid test” that she either resoundingly rebuffs or capitulates to. The time for platitudes is over. Mrs May either backs Mr Gove and Eustice’s welcome calls to scrap the CFP on March 2019 and tells the EU to ‘sod off’ to fulfil her government’s commitment to leave the CFP or capitulates and sacrifices fishing a 2nd time which would see the conservatives obliterated in coastal constituencies from Cornwall to NE Scotland.
It’s time again to fire up your computers, sharpen your pencils, get your biros and fountain pens out and write to your MPs!