Ray Finch MEP, UKIP Fisheries Spokesman, is seeking an urgent meeting with the Fisheries Commissioner over the removal of virtually all remaining fishing rights in the Bristol Channel, which has left the North Devon fleet tied up and facing ruin.
"The decision by the Marine Management Organisation to immediately close the Skate and Ray fisheries over areas V1 and V11 is an absolute disgrace. The MMO says it must do so in fear of penalties to be imposed by the European Commission. This only makeseven more urgent the United Kingdom's exit from the Common Fisheries Policy.
"The fishermen in the Bristol Channel will be completely wiped out because of this cowardly and draconian measure, ending an industry that is worth many millions of pounds a year. 70% of the white fish caught in the area are Skate and Rays. The Government is presiding over the utter destruction of hundreds, perhaps thousands of jobs in the UK fishing industry. The Tory Fisheries Minister, George Eustice, does nothing to protect UK fishermen and is craven in his attitude towards the EU.
"UKIP's policy of withdrawal from the CFP and resumption of our sovereignty over our waters is the only way in which we can build sustainable stocks and have a viable business model for the industry and people of our coastal fisheries. The port of Appledore has a history of fishing going back 1,000 years and the Conservative Party is prepared to let that proud heritage die. It is nothing short of treason.
"I will be seeking an urgent meeting with the Fisheries Commissioner, Karmenu Vella, to demand that the EU takes immediate remedial action to save the North Devon fishing fleet from bankruptcy. Incredibly, the role of Fisheries Commissioner is now a part-time job under the new Juncker regime, which shows the Commission's lack of commitment to the industry; but this must be his number-one priority."
UKIP Chairman and North Devon Parliamentary candidate Steve Crowther said: "The combination of EU fishing quotas and Government incompetence have delivered what might be a terminal blow to North Devon's fishing industry. While the North Devon fleet is tied up and banned from fishing, Belgian and French boats are continuing to take fish on a huge scale outside our 6-mile limit. The oldest fishing port in the UK, Appledore, faces extinction while our supposedly-threatened fish are taken by foreign vessels and landed in Europe. Is this what our Government is for?".
Pictured UKIP Fisheries spokesman Ray Finch MEP at Appledore Fish Dock during his visit to North Devon in August