Brexit leader Nigel Farage has blasted “mad” European Union (EU) fishing rules at a protest on the Thames outside Parliament against the government’s “capitulation” on fisheries after Brexit.
The former UKIP boss was joined on Wednesday morning by pro-Brexit Tories, including MP for Aberdeen South Ross Thomson, at the demonstration against Theresa May’s decision to bow to EU demands for the UK to follow the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) for years after Brexit.
Leading Tory Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg watched from the river bank, explaining he had a committee meeting to attend later in the morning.
The protest was organised by Fishing for Leave, which explained in a statement that the terms of the so-called ‘transition period’ will, in fact, be worse for the fishermen than current arrangements, as they will remain bound by EU rules for two years with no say in setting them.
They added: “Fishermen are furious that, in having to obey EU rules but with no resource, the EU could implement and enforce detrimental legislation to cull what’s left of the British fleet along with abolishing current rules such as the member state 12-mile limit which protects inshore and shell-fishermen.”
Under European Union rules, British fishermen take on average just 90,000 tonnes of fish from UK waters, while the EU flagged fleet takes some 760,000 tonnes — compelling UK trawlers to throw much of their catch back into the sea to meet catch quotas — wasting tons of precious food. By throwing the already caught and dead fish into the river Thames, the protest will hope to hammer home this unnecessary and deeply damaging waste forced by EU rules to legislators and the public.
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Mr. Farage has previously described regaining control of fisheries as the “acid test” for a successful Brexit, and even the Tory environment secretary Michael Gove indicated Tuesday he was disappointed with the “sub-optimal” deal.
From a fishing boat on the river, Mr. Farage told Sky News that, “anyone [who] criticises these fish being put back into the Thames, just go a few miles down the river, and you will see, every day, thornback rays being chucked back to rot on the seabed.”
“The whole thing is a disaster,” he blasted, before launching a pair of dead fish into the water in front of the House of Commons.