Fishermen in 1066 Country back Brexit

Paul Joy with his boat on Hastings Fishermen's Beach. SUS-150411-134401001
Paul Joy with his boat on Hastings Fishermen's Beach. SUS-150411-134401001

Fishermen in 1066 Country have given their support to the Brexit vote.

Fishing communities, such as those in Hastings and Rye, have had to endure unfair fishing quotas set by the European Union (EU) for many years, the industry said.

The European quota distribution system sees small boats like those in Hastings missing out with 90 percent of fish going to large fishing firms.

Paul Joy, chairman of Hastings Fishermen’s Protection Society and co-chairman of the New Under Ten Fishermen’s Association (NUTFA), said: “I do not know any fisherman in the country who would want to stay in the EU because of the deal we have.

“It’s very simplistic. When we went into Europe 82 per cent of the fish pool for Europe was British and we got eight per cent back in monetary value.

“Our rights to fish have effectively been given away to Europe.”

Mr Joy said the quota the UK had for cod in the Channel was 144 tonnes a year whereas for France it was 1,660 tonnes.

He added: “During the summer months we are under a total ban to catch cod so every cod we get we have to throw back.

“We need to establish our territorial rights and push hard to get our 12-mile limits back. At the moment they are six. We need to protect the fishing stocks in our own waters.

“There has been a decimation of our coastal communities in the country because of the lack of fishing opportunities and it’s nothing to do with fishing stocks.”

The EU introduced a discard ban in January this year, which means fishermen cannot throw fish back into the sea and must bring back everything they catch.

In 2011 more than 4,000 readers backed the Observer’s Fairer Deal for Fishermen campaign which saw a delegation from 1066 Country dumping thousands of cut out fish coupons on the steps of Number 10.

It also received support from TV chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall who came to Hastings to see first-hand the plight of local fishermen.

In 2012 the Fisheries Local Action Group (FLAG) was set up with the aim of protecting Hastings’ fishing industry.

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