A GREEN group is calling on people to stick up for Hastings fishermen by supporting a campaign to change the EU fishing law that is driving small boats out of business.
As the reform of the EU Common Fisheries Policy enters a crucial stage in Brussels, Greenpeace’s Be a Fisherman’s Friend campaign is gathering momentum.
It has already netted public endorsement from four South East MEPs, Keith Taylor, Catherine Bearder, Peter Skinner and Sharon Bowles, as well as Hastings MP Amber Rudd.
Hundreds of people in Hastings have already signed a ‘fish card’ petition, urging their MEPs to fight in Brussels for a drastic reform of the policy.
Alicia Craw, Greenpeace campaigner, said: “The next two months will be a make-or-break moment for the future of small-scale fishermen in Hastings and all along the English coast. The more people add their voice to the campaign, the clearer the message our local MEPs will take with them to Brussels: sustainable coastal fishermen deserve a fairer deal.”
John Griffin, a Hastings fisherman who has been fishing for the past 30 years, said: “The quota system, as it stands, is killing the fleet. The livelihoods of local, sustainable fishermen are on their last legs. It won’t take much for them to break.”
Ms Rudd will be joining Greenpeace at Hastings Seafood and Wine Festival on The Stade tomorrow (Saturday) where people can sign up to the campaign. She said: “I remain absolutely committed to improving the lot of the fishing industry in Hastings. This Government is fighting to deliver a fairer share of the quota to the fishing fleets like Hastings and I will continue to strain every sinew to see that delivered.”
Last year the Observer took its campaign Fairer Deal for Fishermen to the Prime Minister, to demand a larger share of the catch for boats under 10 metres. It delivered more than 3,000 cut-out fish coupons signed by readers to 10 Downing Street. For more information on Greenpeace’s campaign log onto www.greenpeace.org.uk/beafishermansfriend.