With Brexit negotiations reaching a crucial stage today Hastings’ MP Amber Rudd, has called on the Government to stand ‘shoulder-to-shoulder’ with the UK fishing industry.
Under current arrangements set out in the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), there has been significant pressure on fishing businesses across the UK, says Ms Rudd, many of which have faced restrictions with regards to the amount of fish that they are allowed to catch under EU law. She points out that critics of the EU argue that the relative deprivation of many UK coastal communities has much to do with the decline of local fishing industries, and she says it can be argued there is a link to the EU’s CFP.
Ms Rudd said: “As we enter the final phase of negotiations with the EU, I’m calling on the Government to ensure that the UK fishing industry’s interests are protected. Britain’s departure from, and new relationship with, the EU represents an opportunity to reform fishing regulations and get a better deal for our hard-working fishermen.
“As the Member of Parliament for a constituency with a long-standing tradition for fishing, I will do all that I can to ensure that the concerns of the local fishing industry are properly heard in Parliament, and that Hastings’ fishermen are not left out in the cold during negotiations with the EU.”
Peter Chowney, leader of Hastings Borough Council and Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Hastings says the real problem for our fishery is not the EU quotas, but the way the UK quota is unfairly distributed.
“The under ten metre fleet, which accounts for over 90 per cent of the UK fleet, gets only four per cent of the UK quota,” he points out.
“Our fishermen in Hastings have expressed their concern about the Brexit process, both in terms of proposals for arrangements and deals for when we leave the EU, and the need for them to have access to EU markets for their fish – 70 per cent of the Hastings’ catch is exported to the EU. When we see the proposed Brexit deal over the next few days, we will presumably find out whether their fears are justified.
“But whatever happens over Brexit, there will still need to be fishing quotas and the real issue for our fishery is whether a sustainable, responsible fleet such as the one we have in Hastings gets a fair share of quota, or whether it continues to go to the giant factory trawlers.”