UK fishermen have held talks with senior figures in the Labour Party to get their views on Brexit and find out what type of fishing policy they are likely to adopt if they get into power.
The result of the last month’s General Election and some recent polls suggest Labour’s chances of forming the next government are no longer the pipedream many political pundits thought just a few months ago.
The meeting with key fisheries stakeholders, including the NFFO, was convened recently in Westminster by Shadow Environment Secretary Sue Hayman MP, and Fisheries Shadow Holly Lynch MP. It was also attended by the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, the UK Seafood Alliance and a representative of the recreational anglers.
The purpose of the meeting, which covered a wide range of issues, was to begin a dialogue between Labour and the fishing sector to ensure that the opposition’s interventions during the passage of the Great Repeal Bill and the Fisheries Bill, are well founded. Given the electoral arithmetic following the general election, Labour in both houses of Parliament could have a direct and important influence on our future as an industry.
The NFFO said afterwards the Labour Party intended to engage much more closely with the fishing industry than it has done the past. “It is doing so in order to equip itself to be an effective and influential official opposition in fisheries. As a baseline for its policies, it needs a sound understanding of the issues confronting all parts of the industry.”
“There was a frank admission that Parliament’s knowledge about fishing, generally, was not high. The fishing sector organisations, NFFO included, have to take some of the blame for this as our attention for the last thirty years has been, perhaps understandably, firmly focused on Brussels – because that is where the key decisions on fisheries have been made.
“The UK’s departure from the EU and therefore the CFP, changes all that. The Westminster Parliament, going forward, is going to be of singular importance in shaping the type of fisheries management regime applied in the UK, beginning with the Repeal Bill and the Fisheries Bill.
Both the official opposition and the fishing industry organisations therefore have a deep interest in developing a quality dialogue that parallels our dialogue with Government.
The NFFO described it as “an important and welcome meeting at an important juncture in the history of the fishing industry.”