It’s essential that local fisherman play a part in determining the future shape of their industry according to local MP Amber Rudd.
She was speaking after a meeting in Hastings yesterday afternoon attended by Environment Secretary Michael Gove, who sat down with local fisherman and tried to allay some of the fears they had over what might happen to their industry when Britain leaves the EU next year.
Ms Rudd, who had invited Mr Gove to come to Hastings and meet local fisherman, said of the meeting: “They were delighted that the Secretary of State came down and listened to them. It wasn’t just him talking to them it was very much them saying ‘we’ve read the White Paper, this is what we like, this is what we don’t like’ and that is exactly what I wanted to achieve. It is absolutely right that local fishermen should help shape the future of fishing in Hastings and beyond.”
It’s well known that Ms Rudd was an active campaigner for remaining in the EU but she said in an interview on the beach yesterday afternoon that she had always strongly believed that the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) operated by the EU was flawed, she said she had always been clear that there was a need to, “leave or reform the CFP because it has not worked for communities like Hastings.”
Issues under discussion included fishing quotas and concerns over marine conservation. This follows on from the recent publication of a government White paper called ‘Sustainable Fisheries for Future Generations’. The paper details the government’s vision for a sustainable and profitable fishing industry after Britain leaves the EU.
Mr Gove said the Hastings fishermen were an ‘amazing group’ and added that they had been ‘patient for a very long time’ in waiting for a larger share of the quotas.
“When the UK leaves the EU and its Common Fisheries Policy the country will take back control of its waters,” Mr Gove said yesterday, adding: “We want to ensure that we deliver the right kind of support for coastal communities in the future and need to make sure that the right kind of facilities are in place.”
He said he was aware that fish landed in Hastings was caught, “in a sustainable way by artisan fishermen.”
Of the local MP he said: “Amber Rudd has been a consistent and strong voice for Hastings fishermen.”
The Hastings fleet, which launches from the beach, is vital to the success of the town and fishermen say they feel reassured after the face to face meeting with Mr Gove. They say they have had a ‘categoric’ assurance that they will get fair share of increased quota coming back from the EU after Brexit.
Paul Joy Chairman of Hastings Fisherman’s Protection Society said he’d been told that plans were being made to make sure the small fleet is “compensated adequately” and that they will, “get a fair share of the quota that is up for grabs.” My Joy says he believes that Mr Gove will follow through on the promises he has made.