Amber Rudd, Member of Parliament for Hastings and Rye, met with George Eustice MP, Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, to discuss the opportunities which may arise from the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union and the benefits this may bring to the fishing fleets in her constituency.
Amber was joined by Jerry Percy (Chief Executive, New Under Ten Fishermens Association). They heard how the Government plans to withdraw from the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy in order to put in place a new fisheries management regime.
The Fisheries Minister also noted one of the options under consideration was for the UK to take control of its 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) – or the median line with France in Hastings’ case. Under this option the UK would be fully responsible, under international law, for control of the waters in its exclusive economic zone and for the management of those resources within it, including fisheries. This option has the support of the fishermen of Hastings.
Amber said: “After discussions with local fishermen I am clear that exiting the EU presents an opportunity for us to revisit fisheries policy and ensure that it works for the inshore fleet.
“So I am working with my colleagues in government to secure a future where the boats of Hastings and Rye can fish sustainably, with increased quota, to benefit the local fishing communities these fleets support.”
Jerry Percy added: “The coming together of fishing related Brexit opportunities, the development of the Coastal PO, the generous provision of quota uplifts through the landings obligation, a recognition by government of the need for a rebalancing the pendulum of quota allocation, together with the clear support of both the Fisheries Minister and Amber Rudd means that we have a golden opportunity to once and for all resolve the historic unfairness in the way that the under ten sector has been disenfranchised for decades.
“We look forward to developing the positive ideas generated during the meeting with the minister and his staff at Defra and the MMO for the regeneration of small scale fishermen and the coastal communities they support.”
At the meeting, the minister, Jerry Percy and Amber also discussed continued cooperation over shared stocks, how changes to fisheries management could benefit the under ten metre sector, and the Coastal Producer Organisation.
Fisheries Minister George Eustice said:
“Our fishing industry is immensely valuable and leaving the EU is a real opportunity to review fisheries management and ensure fair access to quota. It is important we fish sustainably now and in the future - striking the right balance for both our marine environment and coastal communities.
“We’re committed to supporting our smaller, locally-based fishing fleets and at this year’s EU December Fisheries Council, we secured quota increases for skates and rays and cod caught by fishermen in the region.”
Picture: Amber and George Eustice MP - July 2014