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Tories double-cross British fishing communities over reclaiming our seas in weasel word pledge


Published May 26, 2017

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UKIP fisheries spokesman, Mike Hookem MEP, has blasted the Conservatives for trying to “double cross” fishing communities with “weasel-worded” manifesto pledges after it emerged the Tories believed the future of the UK fishing industry lay in “processing fish from Iceland and Norway”, rather than reclaiming our seas.

Pressed by Mike Hookem into revealing Tory plans for the fishing industry post-Brexit, Great Grimsby Conservative candidate, Jo Gideon, said; “what I'm saying is the fishing industry as it exists now, and as it's likely to exist in the future, is about processing fish from Iceland and Norway.” Ms Gideon later said she’d had a “very productive meeting” with DEFRA minister, Andrea Leadsom on the matter.

The admission came only days after fishermen slammed the Conservative manifesto which only promised to “reclaim our traditional fishing grounds”, saying this meant the Conservatives would only enforce the twelve-mile limit rather than the two-hundred-mile limit that is the UK’s right under international law.

Mr Hookem (pictured above with UKIP Leader Paul Nuttall at Grimsby Fish Market), who is calling for fishing to be made a red line in the forthcoming Brexit negotiations, said; “we have a golden opportunity to reclaim an industry worth £6.3 billion to the UK economy. However, if Ms Gideon is correct, the Tories plan to barter this away and leave the UK fishing industry with nothing more than scraps from the EU’s table. This will include processing, but that is only part of the opportunities available to us.

“Speaking to fishing communities up and down the country, the UK’s fishing industry is desperate to reclaim our seas and get back to work. Currently, foreign boats catch 70% of the fish caught in UK waters and land the majority abroad. This cannot be allowed to happen post-Brexit!

“Towns like Great Grimsby, where I am standing as a candidate, are desperate for the type of inward investment a revitalised UK fishing industry could bring, and that pattern is repeated up and down the coastline of Britain.

“The simple fact is, Tory prime minister, Ted Heath betrayed the UK fishing industry on our way into the EU, and it very much seems like a Tory Prime Minister will betray the fishermen again on the way out.

“If the Tories are serious about reclaiming our waters, our fish and the jobs that come with it, then they need to come out and say it. However, I’m not holding my breath.”

 

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