June Mummery, dubbed the First Lady of Fishing, said a complete revival of coastal communities across the UK is long overdue as small-scale fishermen struggle to earn a living due to the restrictions of the bloc’s quota system. The MEP for South East England claimed she witnessed how the struggle has had a domino effect on businesses in fishing towns and villages during a recent tour of seaside areas up and down the country, from Ramsgate in Kent to Grimsby in Lincolnshire. Ms Mummery told Express.co.uk: “It is killing them.
“They are not allowed to catch anything because there’s no quota left – we’ve given the rest of it to the EU. We are on our knees.
“I’ve met people who are struggling to put food on the table for their families.
“We are an island and whether it’s oil or gas or energy or the fishing industry, it’s what our country needs. We just give everything away. What’s the matter with us?
“The UK is being starved and enough is enough. We want to take back full control of our waters.”
Ms Mummery, a member of the European Parliament’s fisheries committee, said she has grave concerns over the possibility of Boris Johnson reviving Theresa May’s thrice-defeated Brexit deal.
The withdrawal agreement states that the EU would slap tariffs on fish until a separate deal was struck giving European boats access to Britain’s waters.
Ms Mummery, who has been campaigning for fishermen’s rights for the past 10 years, said a “clean break Brexit” is the only way to ensure Britain can take back control of its seas.
She believes a fourth attempt to pass the withdrawal agreement (WA4) would spell trouble for fishermen across the UK, particularly those operating small-scale boats.
“The Brexit Party will look into this type of thing. What we want is quota to be a national asset that cannot be bought or sold.
“A lot of people who voted to leave live in coastal or rural communities and they cannot wait, they are so excited.
“It’s not just about the fishing, it’s the process of the fishing. You create ship building yards, jobs for engineers, plumbers, electricians, painters, office staff – that was my first job, working for a shipping company.
“We want to restore some pride on our coasts and I want to rejuvenate our coastal communities.”
The prime minister has so far shown no signs of breaking his key campaign promise to deliver Brexit on October 31 with or without a deal.
As he prepared to meet with EU leaders at a crunch summit on October 17-18 he met with Ireland’s premier Leo Varadkar for talks.
Their meeting raised hopes of a new agreement, with the pair saying they “could see a pathway to a possible deal”.