MP seeks fishing industry assurances from prime minister
PUBLISHED: 17:28 03 April 2018
An MP has penned an open letter to Theresa May urging her to give the fishing industry the assistance it needs to survive.
Peter Aldous, the member of parliament for Waveney, wrote to the prime minister after details on the transition agreement for the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union were announced.
Brexit is scheduled to take place on March 29 2019 and an implementation period will last until December 31 2020, allowing the UK and EU to fine tune their relationship.
However, the deal dictates that Britain will be ‘consulted’ on quotas and access to its waters until 2021, provoking despair within the fishing industry.
In light of the The Renaissance of East Anglian Fisheries conference held in Lowestoft last month, Mr Aldous asked Mrs May to consider ways to ensure the industry reaches the end of the transition.
He wrote: “East Anglian fishermen need to be able to land more fish so that they can earn a fair living. In the short term this could be achieved by a reallocation of a share of existing quota to the inshore fleet.
“In the longer term we need to tackle the situation where fish caught in UK waters is not landed in UK ports, with much of Britain’s quota currently being held by overseas businesses.”
Leading voices in the sector hope Brexit will also signal departure from the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), which outlines the aforementioned quotas.
With the UK’s CFP obligations set to continue during the implementation period, there are concerns that EU member states will take advantage of fishing opportunities in the country’s waters.
Mr Aldous said clarification on the meaning of ‘fishing opportunities’ is required, before seeking assurances from Mrs May that the UK can “start with a ‘clean sheet of paper’” upon leaving the CFP.
Among those to have campaigned for CFP departure is June Mummery, vice chairman of the Lowestoft Fish Market Alliance. She expressed her gratefulness to Mr Aldous for his determination, but emphasised the need for a concerted effort.
“It’s great what Peter Aldous is doing, but we need all the MPs on the coast to get involved and rebuild the coastal community,” she said. “We won’t survive unless something is done and we leave the CFP.”
As he concluded his letter, Mr Aldous highlighted the “exciting opportunity for Lowestoft” and its fishing community as Brexit becomes reality.