The UK leaving the European Union was described as a ‘golden opportunity’ for Hastings and Rye fisheries after the MP met ministers.
Hastings and Rye MP Amber Rudd discussed how small fisheries can benefit from Brexit with the UK possibily taking responsibility for its waters with fisheries minister George Eustice.
Ms Rudd said Hastings fishermen are supportive of this option to increase quotas while maintaining sustainability.
“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,” she said.
“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.”
New Under Ten Fishermens Association chief executive Jerry Percy joined Ms Rudd and they heard how the government plans to withdraw from the EU’s Common Fisheries policy.
Mr Eustice 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 EEZ and for the management of those resources within it, including fisheries.
Mr Percy, whose organisation supports fisheries like Hastings and Rye, said this was a ‘golden opportunity’ to resolve ‘historic unfairness’ in how under-ten metre fleets have been ‘disenfranchised’.
Mr Eustice claimed the fishing industry is ‘immensely valuable’ and leaving the EU is a chance 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,” he said.
“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.”
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