Since I was first elected as the MP for Hastings and Rye in 2010, I have made it my priority to ensure we get a fairer deal for our fishermen who have struggled for too long under the Common Fisheries Policy and are greatly limited by their quotas. Hastings is home to one of the oldest fishing fleets in the nation - dating back to the Domesday Book – and we are also home to the largest beach launched fishing fleet in Europe.
Walking along the beaches of the old town by the historic fishing huts, it is a pleasure to see the working beach of the Stade, and the evidence that our fishing fleet is still an active industry. I know it is vital I do what I can as the local MP to support our fishermen, our community, and all that they add to our town’s character and local economy.
Last Friday I was delighted to welcome the Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs down to Hastings. Hastings fishermen will know first-hand how effective lobbying the head of a Government department can be, as last year they were able to restore full funding for their new icemaker after the funding was set to be reduced following raising their concerns via myself to the Rt Hon Michael Gove MP. It makes my job even more rewarding when I am able to work with the local community to help bring a positive difference to our area.
In the meeting, the Secretary of State and I met with the Hastings Fishermen Protection Society to answer their questions on the Government’s recent white paper on sustainable fishing and find out how Government can support them. I am pleased to say that the meeting was a success, and the Secretary of State confirmed that when we leave the Common Fisheries Policy, our fishermen will have more access to quota and will be able to fish sustainably after certain non UK vessels will no longer have the rights to catch fish in British waters.
While many constituents will know I supported the campaign to remain in the EU, this does not deter me from taking advantage of this great opportunity for our fishermen as we can design a bespoke fishing policy that is fairer for our fishermen. I look forward to seeing what the future holds for our towns’ fishing industries, and I will continue to do everything in my power to assist them.