Mike Hookem MEP tells European Parliament Fisheries Committee - "To give hope to British fishermen with Brexit and then steal it away is a terrible thing."

Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire MEP Challenges Theresa May and Michael Gove to “stop the pussyfooting around” and clarify the UK’s Brexit position on fishing, following tempestuous Fisheries meeting in European Parliament.



Mike Hookem MEP has challenged Theresa May and Michael Gove to 'clarify' the UK's position on fisheries post-Brexit, following a tempestuous fisheries meeting in the European Parliament.

Mr Hookem's comments come after he bluntly told Euro MPs that UK Fishermen feel the EU is 'stealing' Britain's fish in the continuing arguments over the EU’s post-Brexit fishing rights in UK waters.

"British fishermen’s demands are quite simple. Exit from the European Union; exit from the Common Fisheries Policy; and an end to foreign vessels pillaging our seas," said Mr Hookem, expressing the views of the many fishermen he has recently met.

The Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire MEP's was speaking at a meeting of the powerful European Parliament PECH (Fisheries) Committee, which was hearing plans to try to maintain the 'status quo' for EU vessels fishing in British waters post-Brexit.

Mr Hookem, who was born into the now defunct Hessle Road fishing community in Hull said, "Fishermen saw Brexit as their chance earn a living again; to feed their families; to have a future for themselves, their children and their grandchildren.

"Last June, these people were given hope. If you steal it from them; if you think Brexit can mean business as before, with them as the victims, you will be doing something terrible!"

Mr Hookem also took the opportunity to blast French vessels that have been spotted flouting an EU ban on catching Sea Bass in the North Sea; a move that could bankrupt several British fishing businesses.

Addressing the issue, Mr Hookem said; "Fishermen saw Brexit as an escape from watching foreign vessels fishing our quota in our waters and taking their livelihoods. This includes the French, flouting the ban on bass fishing! We respect the rules, they don’t.

Speaking after the meeting - which ran over two days - Mr Hookem said, "it is obvious from what has been said over the last couple of day that the EU think they can bring enough political pressure to bear on the UK to maintain the status quo and simply continue the terms of the Common Fisheries Policy post-Brexit.

"The British people voted for independence from the EU and a return to self-governance that must include our fishing grounds. Fishing communities around Britain not only deserve the opportunity to once again make a living from the sea, they also deserve some clarity on their position moving into the negotiations.

"My worry is that fishing will be seen as an issue that can be bartered away for other concessions when it should be made a red-line. While the Conservatives may talk about 'controlling' UK waters, there has been no firm promises on repatriation of quota and securing our seas as is our right under international law.

"That's why I today challenge Theresa May and Michael Gove to stop pussyfooting around and make assurances to Britain's fishing communities that they will have the opportunity to reclaim their birthrights and make a living from our seas."


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Article first uploaded 23 June - 2017
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