Hastings fisherman to protest against Brexit transition deal

Hastings fishing boats
Hastings fishing boats

A flotilla of fishermen is to descend on Hastings this weekend to protest against the terms of a deal, which will see the UK follow the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) after it leaves the EU.

Under the terms of a 20-month transition deal agreed last month, the UK is to continue following the terms of the CFP once it leaves the EU next year - allowing EU vessels to continue fishing in UK waters.

As a result, the current CFP quotas – which have long been criticised by fisherman both in Hastings and elsewhere in the UK – will remain in place until at least December 31 2020.

In a protest against the terms of this transition deal, a fleet of fishing boats – from Hastings, Rye, Eastbourne, Dungeness and Newhaven – will be parading off of Hastings seafront from 4pm on Sunday, April 8.

In a Facebook post, protest organisers said: “We’ve hit a cross road, this is our last chance to stop to this. To save not only what we have, but what could be. The protest’s purpose is to take our industry’s plight to the public who are equally sickened by the Government’s actions. To pressure MPs to not allow this surrender of our nation’s greatest renewable resource which can support generations to come – no deal is better than this bad deal!

“We have waited and hoped for 20 years to escape [the CFP] and the industry must mobilize to show politicians we won’t be sacrificed without a fight.

“Our communities might not matter to them, but they matter to us.”

Commenting on the terms of the transition deal agreed last week, Hastings and Rye MP Amber Rudd said: “I know many fishermen in our towns have found this announcement disappointing, but we must look at the bigger picture and see that the prize is still out there.

"I fully understand the concerns our fishing community has about the CFP and its impact and I am clear that we must make the most of the opportunity leaving the EU offers us to take back control of our waters and to ensure a fair share of quota for UK fishermen.

“The implementation period will allow us to make a proper transition to a future outside the CFP. This will give us time to prepare ourselves to take full advantage of the opportunities for our coastal communities to revive economically, and for our marine environment to be managed sustainably. That is a significant prize, and I believe we must keep our eyes on it.”