BREXIT NEGOTIATIONS: Don’t Betray Us! Fishermen Tell May
For many people, the measure of the Brexit deal done by Theresa May will be how it treats our fishermen. The richness of Britain’s waters means the EU is determined to maintain access. Some 58 percent of the fish caught in waters around Britain last year went to EU boats, according to a report by the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation.
The fishing community was strongly behind the Leave campaign. However, they fear that they will be sacrificed for concessions that benefit bigger industries, such as financial services or pharmaceuticals. In 1979, Edward Heath offered the EU access to British waters to seal the deal and the British fishing industry has never recovered as EU vessells claim the lions share – for example, in the area around Cornwall, for example, it holds just 8 percent of the annual cod quota while France claims 73 percent.
If Theresa May does not reclaim Britain’s territorial waters then it will be a betrayal that will never be forgotten. David Stevens, a skipper based in Newlyn, a Cornish fishing village that hugs the coast next to Penzance said:
“We don’t want to be betrayed again. We’ve waited for this opportunity to come for years.”
Mrs May really must take heed of this warning. Fishermen are quick to point out Mrs May’s narrow majority in parliament, and the vital support she won from coastal communities in England and Scotland during last year’s general election. She has been warned. If Britain’s fishermen are betrayed again they will not take that laying down.