Brexit: What does it mean for Lowestoft's fishing industry?


Fishing has been a huge sticking point for coastal communities like Lowestoft. - Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

Brexit and fishing has been a huge sticking point for coastal towns like Lowestoft.

The debate over fishing rights between the UK and EU has carried significant political weight, with a key tenet of the Leave Campaign's message in 2016 focusing on 'taking back control of UK waters'.

The deal means 25% of EU boats' fishing rights in UK waters will be transferred to the UK over five years with the government believing this is fair as the 'adjustment period' gives EU fleets time to get used to the new arrangements.

Rachel Bunn, assistant principal at East Coast College, highlighted that fishing is an expanding industry, no longer just revolving around catching fish in the North Sea.


Rachel Bunn, Assistant Principal at East Coast College. - Credit: East Coast College

She said: "The fishing industry is the character of coastal communities like Lowestoft.

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"Our role at the college is training and upskilling students so they come out with a variety of skills that meet today's job market.

"The fishing industry is more than just going out on a boat today.

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"A huge part of the industry is marine engineering, fish mongering, working on land and promoting the local tourism industry.

"Our fishing apprenticeship is currently being approved and we plan to train up students to meet the future demand of what is still a positive and thriving industry."


Former Brexit Party MEP member June Mummery. - Credit: Stuart Anderson

But former Brexit MEP June Mummery is unhappy with the fishing deal agreed by the government with the EU.

"I am heartbroken. This is a diabolical deal for fishing communities like Lowestoft and we were given false promises from the government.

"Whilst I am glad we have left the EU and I am excited for the future of Great Britain, fishing has been thrown under the bus.

"It is diabolical. Until at least 2026 we are still tied to the EU through tariffs, aviation and energy.

"My role was about rejuvenating coastal communities like Lowestoft and now I fear whether there will be an industry left."


Paul Lines, chairman of Lowestoft Fish Market Alliance. - Credit: Nick Butcher

This sentiment was reflected by Paul Lines, chairman of Lowestoft Fish Market Alliance.

Mr Lines said: "The fishing deal agreed by the government with the European Union is a huge failure.

"My son wants to become a fisherman and what future does he have if we don't have full control of UK waters.

"This was a great opportunity that has now been missed."

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