Fleet of fishing boats set to hold Brexit protest off Portsmouth

Fishermen Shane Stratton, Peter Williams and Mark Sevier
Fishermen Shane Stratton, Peter Williams and Mark Sevier
Bethany Kelly, left, and Dani Hackett behind the bar at Beerex in 2016' Picture: Ian Hargreaves (160551-3)

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FISHERMEN are set to amass an armada of boats off the coast of the city protesting arrangements under Brexit.

Government has been accused of leaving the fishing industry ‘vulnerable to being exploited’ by striking a transition deal that will see European Union policy stay in force.

When Britain leaves the EU on March 29 next year, a 21-month transition deal kicks in – keeping Britain within the common fisheries policy but without a say on how it is run.

Now a fleet of 15 boats are set to protest the deal, with people in the fishing industry meeting at 2pm on Sunday off Clarence Pier, in Southsea.

Emsworth fisherman Peter Williams said: ‘This is about the trade that holds coastal communities together.

‘We’ve been let down badly.

‘We’re the only industry tied up in this transitional deal, no-one else is.

‘The rest of the deals are still to be done.’

He added: ‘We’ve got no seat at the table – effectively we’re vulnerable to being exploited.’

The Common Fisheries Policy gives all European fishing fleets access to EU waters.

British fishers say waters must be returned to ensure the sustainability of fishing communities in the UK.

The protest, organised by Fishing for Leave, will be held at the same time as others across the country and will see the burning of EU flags.

Around 200 boats will be involved across the country.

Caroline Cravier, 40, of North End, is engaged to fisherman Paul Sevier, 48, and they will be at the protest aboard Solent Star.

Caroline, who works at Viviers fishmongers at Camber Dock, Old Portsmouth, said: ‘If we don’t make a stand nothing will change.

‘I’m not saying it will, but we need to be listened to.

‘It’s a dying industry and things have got to change.’