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Fishing vessels in mass 'transition' protest

10 April 2018

20 fishing boats had been expected at Hastings, but boats from Rye, Newhaven, Dungeness and Eastbourne boosted the number to 30.

Fishermen brought about 200 fishing vessels to six ports around the coast on Sunday 8 April to stage mass demonstrations against the government’s “transition” arrangements allowing the EU to control British waters until 2020. Crowds gathered on the shores to join the protest.

In Whitstable a fishing boat was symbolically burnt to demonstrate the likely fate of what remains of the British fishing fleet after 40 years of EU plunder of our waters. During the “transition” the EU will have control and power to impose even smaller quotas on British fishermen.

The Hastings demonstration was a community occasion for the local area. Several hundred people spread out along the shore between the two piers, mostly locals with their families. Few had brought banners – more had brought friends. They said they turned out for “our boys”, and there was much waving between boats and shore.

Fishing for Leave, which organised the demonstrations, pointed out that 60 per cent of the British fishing fleet has been deliberately scrapped under government programmes while other EU countries have built boats with EU grants to fish our waters.

In Hastings local fishermen’s relatives, standing ashore, said the prospects for their survival in the industry are poor. Politicians including Theresa May and Amber Rudd the local MP have broken their promises about fishing and will likely betray again in the final deal they strike with the EU. 

Instead, fishermen want a no-deal departure from the EU. That could save the industry if we brought back our own control of British waters, conserving the fish by a “days at sea” limit on fishing.