Brexit deal has 'smashed people's dreams' says fishing boss
Jeremy Percy told the Prime Minister he should not underestimate the levels of anger and frustration within the UK’s fishing industry. The agreement, thrashed out by UK negotiator Lord David Frost and EU opposite number Michel Barnier after many months of tortuous negotiations, was trumpeted by Mr Johnson as having stuck to Britain’s red lines in every area. is view was not shared by Mr Percy, who is the chairman of the New Under Tens Fishing Association (NUFTA).
However, his view was not shared by Mr Percy, who is the chairman of the New Under Tens Fishing Association (NUFTA).
He told Express.co.uk he had discussed the deal during a conference call with George Eustice, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Victoria Prentis, Under-Secretary of State for Farming, Fisheries and Food, and had been told by Mr Eustice “we didn’t get as much as we wanted”.
He said: “That about sums it up, deal is done, despite their promises, we gave away the 6-12 mile zone.
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“There were 17 Belgian beam trawlers on the 6 mile line between Hastings and Brighton.
“No wonder there is no fish getting inshore.
“There will be no change after 5.5 years despite what they say.
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I’ve had loads of calls from inshore fishermen, ranging from tears to despair
“I’ve had loads of calls from inshore fishermen, ranging from tears to despair.
“An almost complete capitulation so nothing much else to say.”
Comparing Mr Johnson to two former Tory Prime Ministers, he said: “Heath rather than Churchill.”
“They just painted themselves into a corner and believed their own PR.
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“One would like to think that they were aware of the weakness of the UK’s negotiating position.
“But I fear that we are governed by those who are either just stunningly incompetent in real-world terms or have a deeper agenda that escapes us mere mortals.
“The vast majority of fishermen feel that we were used and abused.
“Don’t underestimate the strength of feeling out there as to the depths of anger and frustration that fishermen feel that they have been used and then simply thrown away without a second thought.”
Fishing has been a key issue when it comes to Brexit, and Mr Johnson made taking back control of British waters a central theme during the 2019 general election campaign.
Mr Percy is not the first fishing industry leader to voice his displeasure.
Speaking last week, Barrie Deal, CEO of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO) said: “When push came to shove, despite the legal, moral and political strength of our case, fishing was sacrificed for other national objectives.
“Lacking legal, moral, or political negotiating leverage on fish, the EU made the whole trade deal contingent on a UK surrender on fisheries.”
Like Mr Percy, Mr Deas referenced the man who took Britain into what was then known as the common market.
He said: “In the end-game, the Prime Minister made the call and caved in on fish, despite the rhetoric and assurances that he would not do what
Ted Heath did in 1973.
“There will of course be an extensive public relations exercise to portray the deal as a fabulous victory, but it will inevitably be seen by the fishing industry as a defeat.”
Express.co.uk has contacted Defra, Mr Eustice and Ms Prentis to ask for comments.
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