About Nigel Farage and the British fishing industry

You may have read, seen, giggled at reports of the Leave and Remain camps taking to the Thames today. Nigel Farage led a flotilla of “fishermen for leave” from Southend to the Houses of Parliament.

This is particularly interesting because, as Catherine Bearder points out, Nigel is spending more time showboating on the Thames than he has ever spent actually standing up for the British fishing industry at the European Parliament Fisheries Committee which it’s part of his job to be on.

Yet another Leave stunt with no substance behind it.

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50 Comments

  • Jayne Mansfield 15th Jun '16 - 4:52pm

    These stunts are not amusing when so much is at stake.

    The information about Mr Farage’s attendance record was posted to my Facebook this morning. It will be interesting to see the responses.

  • I’m no fan of Farage, but once again the “leave” side seem to have come out on top. Leave politicians lining up alongside the brave British fishermen and the “remain” side using celebrities to shout abuse at them. It’s as if they don’t want to win.

  • Our seas were ‘politically’ stolen back in the 70’s, and no amount of attendance in this corrupt organisation as the EU most certainly is, will return our stolen seas. The only answer is Brexit, to regain control of those British stolen seas for our fishermen. I’m frankly, not sure why liberals think it is a good idea to sneer at our beleaguered British fishermen, and our fishing industry which has been desimated by the EU and the CFP.?

  • The problems of the Scottish fishing industry are less to do with the EU and more to do with successive Westminster governments that regarded it as expendable in negotiations.

  • Jayne Mansfield 15th Jun '16 - 5:49pm

    @JDunn,
    There are those who would argue that the problem lies with successive governments who have failed to deal with the fact that fishing quotas are concentrated in the hands of a few large operators to the detriment of small scale operators.

    @ Malc,
    I know as a fact that fishermen are angry but are they having their grievances exploited for political reasons? The UK fisheries minister is responsible for the distribution of fishing rights?

  • “The UK fisheries minister is responsible for the distribution of fishing rights?”
    If only that were true Jayne.
    Let’s get real here. The UK fisheries minister does what he/she is told, by a corrupt EU system. The CFP stole our seas some 40+ years ago, and there is ‘bog all’, our fisheries minister, or our beleaguered fishermen can do about it whilst we stay in this EU mess.
    Reclaiming our stolen seas by voting Leave, is the only credible answer for our fishermen and our stolen £2 billion fishing industry.

  • Another plug for the Wee Bleu Book. A handy wee book putting the facts about Scotland in the EU in the hands of campaigners and the public and available here…

    http://www.scotlandineurope.eu/wee_bleu_book

    The section on fishing is on pages 41 and 42. It is a UK government foreign office memo that describes the Scottish fishing industry as expendable.

    The EU is a key export market for Scottish fishing. In 2014 alone Scotland exported £461million worth of seafood to other EU countries. A leave vote would cut Scotland off from those markets, leaving Scotland’s fishing industry even worse off.

  • Peter Hayes 15th Jun '16 - 7:04pm

    Everyone, if we leave how much of the North and Irish seas will be ours, 12 miles or a negotiated line down the middle? We sell more fish to Europe than UK, will there be a tariff barrier to protect French or Spanish fishermen, some of which own UK registered boats but do not land their catch in UK. This is a lot more complicated than the simplistic case Farage makes, who missed all but one of the EU fisheries committee meetings.

  • Rumour has it the one he went to was an accident

  • What’s the point of turning up to these meetings when we’ve given up so much of our fishing grounds to the EU & the entire industry has been trashed ?

  • Malcolm Todd 15th Jun '16 - 7:23pm

    Alistair – was it held in a pub?

  • Adrian Sanders 15th Jun '16 - 7:32pm

    He turned up to a meeting discussing smoked kippers, he thought the invitation was to have a smoke with Ukippers.

  • “…if we leave how much of the North and Irish seas will be ours, 12 miles or a negotiated line down the middle?”

    The internationally recognised, and prescribed by the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea, embodied by the EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone), is 200 nautical miles.

  • “We sell more fish to Europe than UK,..”
    Here’s the really astonishing fact. We are a nation surrounded by sea, but because our fishing industry is crippled by the EU’s… CFP, since 1984, we became a net importer of fish – to the tune of approx £2.66 billion worth of seafood annually, – which equates to two thirds of what we eat.

  • “This is a lot more complicated than the simplistic case Farage makes, who missed all but one of the EU fisheries committee meetings.”
    The real shock is that he even bothered to attend *one* of the meetings, knowing that the corrupt stolen seas policy (CFP), means that nothing can be done to change the ‘fishing rights theft’, except of course to Leave this corrupt EU organisation, and regain the rights of British seas for our fishermen and our fishing industry?

  • If he didn’t attend because there was no point attending why did he take a place on said committee?

    The man’s a ….. [sorry, might break Forum rules]

    But no I didn’t “giggle” at today’s performance since Geldof proved himself to be an even bigger …..

  • David Evershed 15th Jun '16 - 8:49pm

    The REMAIN campaign is focused on personal attacks, such as this one on Farage, rather than making the arguments.

    In the case of EU fishing, one suspects that REMAIN has no EU arguments and so has resorted to domestic arguments and personal attacks.

  • Stevan Rose 15th Jun '16 - 9:12pm

    “The internationally recognised, and prescribed by the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea, embodied by the EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone), is 200 nautical miles.”

    That’s good, Brussels is only 170 miles from Dover so if we leave we can claim it as part of our EEZ.

    The CFP is not the EU’s finest hour and needs root and branch reform and some Government backbone. But the CFP is part of an overall EU package that has huge benefits in other areas. Not so bad on it’s own that it’s worth chucking the rest away. Not sure really why we’re helping to draw attention to it given it is near impossible to defend. Our approach should have been to agree that the CFP is a disaster and commit to changing it from within, starting with participation in the relevant committees.

    Your repeated attempts to use the term “liberal” as an insult suggests you have no idea what a liberal actually believes in. The best definition I’ve seen is “a generosity of spirit, a tolerance of others, a commitment to the rule of law, a high ideal of the worth and dignity of man, a repugnance of authoritarianism, and a love of freedom.” I don’t always follow that definition in its entirety all the time but am very happy to aspire to being a liberal in time. Where I fail most often is in my relative intolerance of those who are mean-spirited, intolerant, authoritarian (especially), and want to restrict my freedom.

  • CFP has been subjected to repeated reviews over the years, some of which have been beneficial. It is not really useful to describe it as “a disaster”. One of the key reasons we have less quota for UK fishermen than arguably should be the case, was because of widespread sales of quota by UK operators to Spanish and French fleets (NOT “stealing” as J Dunn describes it).

    I was surprised to read that the throwing back of dead fish is still normal practice, given that it was condemned by most parties years ago. Why is this?

    No-one has mentioned the hard work done by former Lib Dem MP Andrew George, from his West Cornwall constituency, in encouraging a Regional approach to fisheries management, which has / had the potential to give a more realistic edge to this controversial topic. Rather than banging on about leaving the EU, George Eustice, the Minister in the UK government in charge, and now a Cornish MP, should be doing his best to ensure good results to the continuous review that seems to be going on here.

    Finally, the topic is not helped by frequent rows between fishermen and scientists over fish stock levels. As an environmental campaigner I worry that this is yet another attempt to armtwist people in the scientific community to attempt to maintain unsustainable practices which will be to everyone’s detriment.

  • A Social Liberal 15th Jun '16 - 10:07pm
  • I’m fairly sure that tomorrows Sun, Mail, Express etc will all carry a picture of Bob Geldof – surround by “in” posters – giving the V sign in the direction of british fishermen. I doubt anyone will care what rubbish Farage has been saying, it will all be about the “in” camp giving the V sign to the fishermen.

  • Richard Underhill 15th Jun '16 - 10:35pm

    Conservation of fish stocks is necessary. Cod is a favourite fish, but in short supply and only available at a premium price. Alternatives are available, but less popular.
    Salmon is farmed in inlets. Trout is available from rivers.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 16th Jun '16 - 1:53am

    And vegetarianism a good alternative ,as our Tim knows well !

  • Peter Watson 16th Jun '16 - 6:49am

    “Nigel Farage sits on the EU Fisheries Committee. The group has met 42 time while he has been a member. Nigel Farage has attended just one meeting.”
    Given what Farage thinks about the EU and its parliament, drawing attention to his lack of engagement with it seems a futile line of attack for the Remain side.
    Lots of committee meetings. Anything much achieved by them? Did Farage’s absence have any effect? Unless the Remain camp can go beyond the easy ad hominem attack on Farage it risks simply drawing attention to inefficient and redundant busywork in the EU parliamentary system.

  • Jayne Mansfield 16th Jun '16 - 7:23am

    @ Malc,
    There are better ways of conducting an argument, but when one is dealing with a showman, it may be that one has to meet like with like. I don’t know.

    Mr Farage has been happy to take the taxpayers money as an MEP , (that includes mine) and what has he done to help the fishermen that he claims to care about whilst doing so?

    When three major meetings have been held to fix the flaws in the Common Fisheries Policy, he has chosen not to be there and vote in favour of improving the legislation, despite us paying for him to be there. We, and I include lower income tax payers than myself, paid for him to be in that building when the voting was taking place!

    Link function not working but Greenpeace set out the facts –

    ‘ Farage’s voting Record on fishing ‘makes mockery’ of new poster ,

    If there is one thing that hard working people hate, its people who get ‘summat for nowt’ , yet when one reads the facts, I and others believe that we have been paying through the nose for someone who has not fulfilled their function to help our fishermen satisfactorily. Some friend!

  • Bitsy Shephard 16th Jun '16 - 8:32am

    I do not care about Nigel Farage. Please, enough said. What I do care about is how the EU regulations are really affecting our fishermen. I passionately believe we need to stay in the EU for all sorts of reasons, that leaving now would create the perfect storm for a world in turmoil, especially with what’s happening across the pond in the USA. BUT. If we do stay in the EU, and I pray that we do, we need to fight like hell for change. I NEED TO KNOW EXACTLY AND PRECISELY HOW THE EU REGS ARE AFFECTING OUR FISHERMEN. Not shouting. Not anger. The cold hard truth of the matter.

  • Paul Murray 16th Jun '16 - 8:38am

    Lib Dem Voice says “Yet another Leave stunt with no substance behind it.”

    Meanwhile Breitbart (yes, I know) reports the response of a Labour “remain” campaigner who was on the boat with Geldof:

    “Bethany Pickering, a politics student and self-described “socialist, feminist, environmentalist” announced the Labour activist’s apology on Twitter.

    “On a boat with Bob Geldof and its awful. I may vote remain, but don’t support jeering at fisherman worried about their livelihoods”.

    She continued: “As someone who was on Bob Geldof’s boat, and left with others in protest, I can tell you it is everything wrong with strongerin… Fisherman, please know that most Labour remain people on Geldof’s boat left in disgust. Not why I’m in at all”.

    So the abiding image of this event is celebrity Bob Geldof giving the finger to a flotilla of working fishermen who are making a powerful statement about the parlous state of their industry. Labour remain supporter response: “This is not who we are”. LDV response: “a Leave stunt”.

    Which do you think does more to help the “remain” cause?

  • J Dunn 15th Jun ’16 – 5:15pm………………..Our seas were ‘politically’ stolen back in the 70’s, and no amount of attendance in this corrupt organisation as the EU most certainly is, will return our stolen seas. The only answer is Brexit, to regain control of those British stolen seas for our fishermen. I’m frankly, not sure why liberals think it is a good idea to sneer at our beleaguered British fishermen, and our fishing industry which has been desimated by the EU and the CFP………………….

    The collapse of the UK fishing industry happened because of the Icelandic ‘Cod Wars’ in the early 1970s….
    Under pressure from the US the United Kingdom finally agreed to a 200-nautical-mile (370-kilometre) Icelandic exclusive fishery zone following threats that Iceland would withdraw from NATO, which would have forfeited NATO’s access to most of the GIUK Gap, a critical anti-submarine warfare chokepoint during the Cold War. As a result, British fishing communities lost access to rich areas and were devastated, with thousands of jobs lost…..
    Pressure on N. Sea fish stocks due to subsequent overfishing lead to the demise of that industry…
    I lived/worked in Grimsby during that time and watched the demise; ship after ship being laid up; business after business closing…A thriving town, dependent on one industry, turned in an empty shell…

  • Jayne Mansfield

    I agree with you about Farage, the fishermen of this country would have been far better off having someone at the EU who fought their corner. Unfortunately, I’m not sure that people see him as getting paid for doing “nowt”, he was elected on a policy of taking us out of the EU and seems to have achieved his goal. Today’s MORI telephone poll is very bad news for the remain camp and after yesterday’s nightmare on the water and Osbornes budget warning I can’t see it getting better.

  • Matt (Bristol) 16th Jun '16 - 10:31am

    Bitsy,

    I think Corbyn’s question in PMQs yesterday actually (for once) helps us quite a bit more than what was going on in the river outside:

    “The Prime Minister will be very well aware that reforms that were made three years ago actually put the power back into the hands of member states, and it is the UK Government who have given nearly two thirds of English and Welsh fishing quotas to three companies, thus excluding the small fishing communities along our coasts. Will the Prime Minister stop blaming Brussels on this and tell our small-scale and sustainable fishing communities what action he will take to allow them to continue their work”

    Once again, as with Chinese steel imports, what appears ‘wrong’ with the EU to some people is the idiocy our (Conservative) ministers decide to do with the powers they have, not what is ‘imposed’ upon them from Brussels.

    I am not really what is known as a Corbyn fan, but on this occasion he hit a nail on the head. Gently, of course.

  • Matt (Bristol) 16th Jun '16 - 10:33am

    Malc:

    (black humour warning – not a serious proposition)

    – but if we leave ALDE will increase its relative power in the European parliament, so that’s alright, then, isn’t it?

  • Jayne Mansfield 16th Jun '16 - 10:35am

    @ Malc,
    But the question for me, is why has he wanted to take us out of the EU, and will those who believe that all their problems will be solved if we leave the EU, find that being our of the EU works against them not for them.

    The Independent is only available online and so I doubt that the vast majority of people read its articles, ( not that they ever did).

    Today there is an article:
    ‘EU referendum, Nigel Farage’s flotilla boat involved in £63 million fishing fraud’

    It raises issues in my mind about whether Brexit is for the ”little guy’ or whether they are being used to bring about a politics in this country that works even more in favour of the haves against the have nots.

    I say this as someone who will vote ‘remain’ as the lest dire worst option with a peg on my nose.

  • Matt

    For a minute or two I was wondering what a supermarket chain was doing in the EU parliament. Then I remembered it was spelt Aldi, I guess that shows how much I know about politics or supermarkets!

    Jayne

    Why Farron dislikes the EU so much I haven’t a clue, but his wish to leave will have nothing to do with helping the “little guy” – it never is. I will most likely vote remain, simply for selfish reasons because I’m looking at moving to Palma, otherwise it would be a coin toss. However, I think the referendum is already lost and have already placed my bets.

  • Rightsaidfredfan 16th Jun '16 - 11:36am

    @Jayne

    You asked what has farage done for the fishermen he claims to care about?

    You might think that he’s done nothing other than take an MEP salary from the institution he despises and not attend meetings, but the pro-Brexit fishermen would probably tell you that what farage has done for them is force the political establishment to hold this referendum.

    Do you think it’s fair to say that without farage and UKIP this referendum wouldn’t be taking place?

  • Rightsaidfredfan 16th Jun ’16 – 11:36am………………..Do you think it’s fair to say that without farage and UKIP this referendum wouldn’t be taking place?….

    Probably Not! However, what this referendum has done is to polarise the nation as never before, to further lower respect for the political system, to try and destroy the credibility of almost every institution from the Bank of England to the IFS and CBI, etc.,etc…

    All this by the leader of a far right party who failed in every attempt to get elected as an MP….

  • Matt (Bristol) 16th Jun '16 - 11:53am

    Malc — I think you mean Farage, not Farron there — sorry…

  • Matt

    You are right I did mean Farage not Farron, not the first thing I’ve got wrong today. Perhaps today wasn’t the time to put my bets on. I’ve backed the leave campaign to win and Wales to win the football, I’ve also backed the remain campaign to get less than 45% of the vote – I couldn’t resist the 8/1.

  • Jayne Mansfield 16th Jun '16 - 2:37pm

    Rightsaidfredfan,
    I think that Expats has answered on my behalf.

    Discontent with the EU has been bubbling along in the tory party since Maastricht. Whether some other right wing renegade from the Tory Party would taken the role that Mr Farage as taken, we will never know.

    Maybe Alan Sked might have been more persuasive than Mr Farage and his UKIP, for less financial outlay. Again we will never know.

  • Matt (Bristol) 16th Jun '16 - 3:00pm

    Malc – well, Wales have started well…

  • Discontent with the EU has been bubbling along in the tory party since Maastricht.
    Which was further fuelled by Gordon Brown’s undemocratic signing of the Lisbon treaty (which gave away aspects of sovereignty that wasn’t Parliament’s to give away) and his refusal to adhere to Labour’s referendum manifesto commitment, unlike Ireland…

    Hindsight seems to imply that we are in the current mess with respect to the EU because of Gordon Brown; as an EU without the Lisbon Treaty would be a very different beast…

  • Yes it would, Roland. There would be no formal procedure for leaving!

  • Roland 16th Jun ’16 – 3:29pm
    Discontent with the EU has been bubbling along in the tory party since Maastricht.
    Which was further fuelled by Gordon Brown’s undemocratic signing of the Lisbon treaty (which gave away aspects of sovereignty that wasn’t Parliament’s to give away) and his refusal to adhere to Labour’s referendum manifesto commitment, unlike Ireland…Hindsight seems to imply that we are in the current mess with respect to the EU because of Gordon Brown; as an EU without the Lisbon Treaty would be a very different beast……

    Or, perhaps, that arch anti-European Margaret Thatcher, who signed the Single European Act, which created the single European market – one of the biggest acts of European integration.
    In her 1993 book, The Downing Street Years, she defended the decision, saying: “Advantages will indeed flow from that achievement well into the future.”
    The fact that, in 2002, she took the opposite view didn’t remove her signature from the paper; although, to be fair she was hardly compos mentis in 2002…

  • The fact that Farage and his UKIP mates have been drawing salaries and allowances under essentially false pretences by not taking proper part in the democratic procedures of the Parliament, and then slag it off as “undemocratic” seems to be neglected by many people. Personally, I think it should have led to them being disbarred, but what do I know?? Certainly it is totally out of the spirit of “The 7 principles of public life” inaugurated in the wake of Tory sleaze in the 1990s.

  • Jayne Mansfield 16th Jun '16 - 5:13pm

    @ Matt ( Bristol),
    And therein lies the problem,

    Politicians like Cameron have been happy to divert attention and blame the EU for their own failures.

    They are now reaping the whirlwind.

  • @Tim13 – I suspect that if Nigel had been elected to Westminster we could of disbarred him, but then there is the long established precedence set by Sinn Fein et al…

    However, I do think that we in the UK are a bit heads down and should be using our influence to get the “The 7 principles of public life” adopted by the EU. Whilst we are at it, we should push the lobbying bill up to the EU as a starter to regulate the big money lobbying that has largely moved to Brussels…

  • Anthony Dunn 17th Jun '16 - 11:58am

    A few years back, sailing up the NW coast of Scotland and we pitched up in the godforsaken hole that is Lochinver. Setting aside the enormous amount of EU regional funds that had been poured into the place to fund the massive new quayside, what we could not help but notice was that most of the fishing boats alongside were ….Spanish. And most of the refrigerated trucks parked up next to the refrigeration plant were also Spanish.

    We asked locally why mainly Spanish boats and so few locally registered? The answer was that the locals preferred to sell up their boats, licences and quotas, trouser the cash (and then get the hell out of the place – presumably off to the Costas…).

    So much for all of the bleating from much of the offshore fishing industry.

  • Matt (Bristol) 17th Jun '16 - 12:54pm

    Jayne: “They are now reaping the whirlwind.”

    And so are we.

  • A leave vote would not affect the Scottish seafood exports. Like the whisky they buy it because they can’t get it anywhere else. Notwithstanding that it is against WTO rules to put up new tariffs – and against common sense! Too many folk are scaremongering based on basic economic ignorance and/or malfeasance. Since most economists couldn’t predict the financial crisis and none predicted the oil price slump it’s easy to assume the former. The economic models used by the Treasury reflect only a pessimistic circular argument wrapped in fancy maths. Read more here..
    http://www.economistsforbrexit.co.uk/
    By the way, I am still undecided. As a journalist wrote the other day, “I’m for EU, just not this EU”.

  • Chris Davies 20th Jun '16 - 9:00pm

    Please keep up at the back there. The CFP HAS been reformed (Farage turned up to the crucial meeting of the European Parliament’s Fisheries Committee in 2013, although having voted on about 400 amendments he then managed to miss the final vote). The UK (then fisheries minister Richard Benyon MP) played a key part in bringing about the reform, the most crucial part of which is to make it a legal requirement to set annual catch quotas such that stocks will recover to levels above maximum sustainable yield by 2020. I played a role too as organiser of the cross party Fish for the Future group that worked to raise the profile of the fisheries issues and helped secure the support of 502 MEPs (a huge majority) in favour of reform.

    Fish stocks around Britain are now increasing. Quotas have been increased and will be increased further. Management of fisheries is being decentralised to regional fisheries bodies (fishermen plus scientists). The CFP, far from being a disaster, is a good example of an EU policy that is being reformed to put sustainability at its core.

    And by the way, the EU (national fisheries ministers) sets annual quotas for each nation state. But it is the UK all by itself that has introduced a policy that has led to 60% of the national quota being controlled by three companies (one of them Dutch I believe). And it is the UK that has decided that only 4% of the national quota will be given to the fishermen using smaller boats who make up the vast bulk of the fishing fleet.

  • Matt (Bristol) 21st Jun '16 - 2:48pm

    Thanks, Chris. My point entirely.

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