Brexit: Fishing industry was ‘lied’ to claims Luke Pollard
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Boris Johnson has been branded a liar over his Brexit promise that the UK would “take back control” of its waters, with warnings the UK fishing industry is now “on its last legs”. The former Prime Minister, who pledged to “Get Brexit Done”, had promised to protect the industry before signing a trade deal with the European Union. The fishing agreement states there would be a five-year transition period that would see EU boats continue to gain access to UK waters until 2026.
At the time, Mr Johnson admitted some concessions had been made in talks with the EU.
But June Mummery, the former MEP for East of England and founder of Renaissance of the East Anglian Fisheries, has launched a furious attack against Mr Johnson, claiming UK fishermen have been “stabbed in the back”.
She told Express.co.uk during an explosive interview: “What UK fishing industry? We’ve completely lost it. The industry is practically gone and is on its last legs.
“Back in the day, Iceland took back control of their lucrative waters, kicked us out, and wouldn’t let us fish in their waters anymore.
“Within a fortnight, we were buying fish from them because there were thousands of jobs on the Humber that needed the raw material. Boris Johnson said we would ‘take back control of our waters’. That was a bloody lie.
“UK fishermen have been betrayed and stabbed in the back.”
Ms Mummery accusing Mr Johnson, despite his insistence to protect the industry, of “giving the EU our fishing waters”, something he can “never deny”.
The former MEP is also furious there are what she claims are around 1,7000 European vessels still fishing in British waters, with many even coming as far as the six mile exclusion zone.
She continued: “At the eleventh hour, Boris gave the EU our fishing waters. He cannot deny that or get out of that.
“We are supposed to be taking back control of 200 nautical miles of waters. Foreign boats are only supposed to come up to the 12 mile exclusion zone of British coasts but they are coming all the way up to the six mile exclusion zones.
“You still have 1,700 EU vessels in our waters and eight of those are super trawlers.”
Ms Mummery concluded: UK fishermen are skint and on the bones of their backsides. We had the Covid pandemic and the hospitality sector shut down. Who on earth would invest in fishing in this country?
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“Boris gave Emmanuel Macron 70 more fishing licences last year, free of charge. A fishing licence for a young lad leaving school is around £100,000.
“You have fishing towns like Grimsby, Hull, Lowestoft, Great Yarmouth and Hartlepool, but Boris has literally stolen all of their opportunities and aspirations. He lied to us all.”
She concluded: “The UK Government has betrayed coastal towns, villages and communities. You stabbed fishermen in the back and what the hell are you going to do about it? The industry is just about finished.”
Shortly after the trade deal with the EU was signed, then-Prime Minister Mr Johnson admitted concessions were made to Brussels but insisted for the first time since 1973, the UK would have “full control” of its waters.
He said at the time: “The EU began with I think wanting a transition period of 14 years, we wanted three years, we’ve ended up at five years.
“That was a reasonable transition period and I can assure great fish fanatics in this country that we will as a result of this deal be able to catch and eat quite prodigious quantities of extra fish.
“For the first time since 1973 we will be an independent coastal state with full control of our waters with the UK’s share of fish in our waters rising substantially from roughly half today to closer to two thirds in five-and-a-half years’ time.
“After that, there is no theoretical limits beyond those placed by science or conservation on the quantity of our own fish that we can fish in our waters.”
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