Burning their boats: Fishermen in nationwide protest against Brexit transition

Burning their boats: Fishermen in nationwide protest against Brexit transition

Fishermen are to stage a mass protest with EU flags and a fishing boat set ablaze in opposition to the Government’s transition deal with the EU.

The UK agreed a deal with Brussels last month which keeps Britain in the Common Fisheries Policy, a concession attacked by numerous Tory MPs and fishermen.

But on Sunday members of the fishing community and MPs will take part in a nationwide protest with 200 boats sailing around 6 UK ports.

In Hastings fishermen will burn EU flags and in Whitstable a 30-foot fishing boat draped in EU flags will be placed onto a bonfire with a crane before being torched.

Alan Hastings of Fishing for Leave, who organised the protest, said:

“The transition is not just a 21 month delay but a death sentence for what’s left of the British fishing industry as the EU will be free to enforce and impose detrimental rules on us to cull what’s left of the British fleet.”

This would then allow the EU to use international law, UNCLOS Article 62.2, which says if a nation no longer has the capacity to catch its own resources it must give the surplus to its neighbours.”

The reaction to the transition deal last month was brutal, with several Tory MPs refusing to endorse the plan. At the time Scottish Conservative MP Douglas Ross tweeted: “It would be easier to get someone to drink a pint of cold sick than to try to sell this as a success.”

In the aftermath of the agreement Downing Street tried hard to manage the backlash over fishing. Scottish Conservatives were called in to see the chief whip and there were unconfirmed reports that No 10 had blocked Tory MPs from taking part in a fish throwing protest outside parliament.

During 2020 Brussels has agreed the total catch size for UK fishermen will be exactly the same as now but fishing campaigners warn that damage to the industry will be done regardless.

During the transition period the EU can still abolish the 12 mile limit that protects inshore fishermen and new rules banning discards coming into force next year could put the UK’s northern fleet out of business.

Fishing for Leave are hoping Brexiteers will come out in force to support the flotillas which will sail around Newcastle, Plymouth, Whitstable, Milford Haven, Portsmouth and Hastings.

For more information and timings click here.