Friday, 9 November 2007

Death of UK Fishing

The Fisheries Minister and Hartlepool’s MP no doubt hope they scored lots of political points when they visited Hartlepool. How much practical assistance the visit will give to the remnants of the Hartlepool Fishing Fleet is highly debatable.

The current crisis in UK fishing is the result of many years of the EU Common Fisheries Policy. UK Fishing grounds are controlled from Brussels not Westminster. UK politicians have as much real influence over fishing policy as they do over the weather fishermen encounter on the few days they are allowed to put to sea.

While the UK remains within the European Union then British fishing will continue its inevitable decline. Any fishing that survives in Hartlepool in a few years time may only be as a subsidised tourist attraction. Visitors might be able to visit the “Historic Fishing Quay” to see how fishing used to be an important industry in Hartlepool.

The European Union has no interest in a continued fishing industry in the UK. The only thing any British politician can offer is sympathy and platitudes. The only way to save British Fishing is to withdraw from the European Union and close our fishing grounds to foreign fleets. Iceland pulled out of EU membership to protect its fishing industry and the Norwegian Fishing fleet is much more sensibly and sustainably managed outside the bureaucracy of the EU.

Fishing is not the first British industry sacrificed to the European Union Project and I doubt it will be the last.

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