Fishermen held mass demonstrations in ports around Britain on Sunday. Organisers Fishing for Leave (FFL) welcomed the success of the demonstrations and thanked the hard work of members and the public for their support.

FFL say it is now important that the politicians pay heed to not only the fishermen but the thousands of people who turned out to support on the quaysides or this would just be the start.

They lambasted the Prime Minister who said in Denmark she wanted “fair and reciprocal” access to waters for Denmark’s fishermen after Brexit. FFL highlighted that Mrs May’s definition of “fair and reciprocal” fishing access is probably as far away from the rest of the population as her idea of “Brexit meaning Brexit” and insist any future access should only be on a needs must equal swap basis.

The group’s spokesman Alan Hastings said, “Sadly it seems Mrs May’s idea is the same as her predecessor Heath. That Britain’s greatest natural resource and coastal communities are expendable negotiating capital as her capitulation to trapping Britain’s fishing in transition shows”.

“Theresa May needs to stop playing semantic and for once live up to her rhetoric of ‘let me be clear’ by having the decency to stop playing with real people’s lives, futures and businesses in coastal communities”.

“She must reverse the capitulation on fishing and categorically promise that we will be entirely free of the CFP come March 2019 or consign another British industry to museum and memory as the EU culls what’s left in 21 months otherwise these peaceful protests will just be a start”.

PROTEST A HUGE EFFORT THAT’S JUST A POLITE START

Fishing for Leave said the 200 vessels and thousands of supporters that made the effort to turn out around the coast at short notice did a fantastic job and should be massively proud in showing politicians the depth of feeling in coastal communities that are not prepared to be betrayed a second time without a fight – a minibus was even hired for supporters from Stoke-on-Trent!

Alan continued; “These were peaceful protests conducted with black humour and high professionalism even when Remainers chained themselves to the boat Thereason May that was symbolically burnt”.

“These events weren’t a party but a full throated protest. We’re sick to death of being malevolently and dismissively portrayed as being justifiably expendable when we are anything but. Fishing is a primary wealth generating industry providing food security and employment in ancillary industries in rural coastal areas”.

“Repatriating our fishing grounds and the 60% of the fish the EU catches in them is worth a potential £6-8bn every year to coastal and rural communities and can create tens of thousands of jobs and the government is dismissing this opportunity and communities”.

Fishing for Leave say they are sickened by Remainers gleefully peddling the deliberate narrative that fishing doesn’t matter with the group asking them to consider how much their job is worth to the economy? Something for the professional students who berated fishermen that Remainers knew best about fishing in Whitstable to consider”.

WHY THE TRANSITION IS AN EXISTENTIAL THREAT

Fishing for Leave organised the nationwide protest against the transition deal saying this isn’t just 21 months to suck up but an existential threat and potential death sentence for what’s left of Britain’s fishing industry.

The group say DEFRA peddling the government line about “delivering a smooth and orderly Brexit” along with “safeguarding fishing communities” is laughable given obeying all EU law after Brexit means the EU is able to enforce detrimental policies to cull our fleet.

They cite that the EU has every incentive to do this as under international law, UNCLOS Article 62.2, if a nation is unable to catch all its resources it must give the surplus it can’t catch to its neighbour – the EU.

Alan explained, “Our big fear is the ill-founded 2019 EU discard ban addresses the discard symptom not the quota cause. Quotas force fishermen to discard to find what they can keep. Under the ban as of 2019 vessels must stop fishing when they exhaust their smallest quota. These ‘choke species quotas’ will see the fleet tied up, boats and businesses at sea and ashore go bust”.

“The 12 mile limit that protects our inshore fishermen and nursery grounds can also be abolished upon withdrawal and despite DEFRAs pathetic official protestations that “the UK’s share of catch could not be reduced over the transition period”, the EU commission has sole discretion to award and change resource shares and every reason to do so to our detriment”.

“DEFRAs statement that we will be ok because we ‘are working in good faith’ is pitiful given the EU has repeatedly said that a departing member must be seen to suffer”.

Alan Hastings concluded, “To sacrifice tens of thousands and communities to appease a few ideologically pro-EU vested interests is a second betrayal that would have dire electoral consequences for coastal MPs”

“These protests show that coastal MPs must listen to the thousands who turned up at short notice and the many more in the public who support this totemic industry”.

“MPs should remember they serve their constituents who elect them not a dismissive chief whip. If MPs have any inkling of self-preservation they must heed what we are saying and put country before party and remember No deals better than a bad deal and that coastal constituencies count”.

“The politicians have now been well told that the transition is unacceptable and why it’s now time they honoured the vote and walked away as it is clear the EU is not prepared to offer a deal worth more than a packet of smarties to dissuade others from leaving”.

“If they do not and shovel fishing away in desperation for any deal they will be guilty of a conscious second betrayal of thousands of lives, businesses and coastal communities and will be culled in those constituencies in the same way our fleet will be”.

“Fishermen are not going to take being thrown to the wolves lying down and these protests will just be the start if patriotism, decency and good sense does not prevail”.

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