King’s Lynn and Lowestoft MPs cite opportunity for the fishing industry post Brexit

Lowestoft fishing boats in the harbour.

Lowestoft fishing boats in the harbour. - Credit: Picture: Nick Butcher

Fishing must not be the 'sacrificial lamb' in Brexit negotiations, a Tory MP has said as he urged the government to 'grasp the opportunity' to breathe new life back into the industry.

Peter Aldous, who supported remain camp during the European Union referendum campaign, called for the fishing minister to tackle EU ministers over electro pulse beam trawling which is decimating North Sea fishing stocks.

He said ministers needed to reclaim control of Britain's territorial waters and reverse rules which allow the six affiliated vessels of the Lowestoft producer organisation to land no fish in the Suffolk town.

He highlighted the importance of opening up new global markets, including in the far east, for the shellfish industry which exports to the European Union.

Mr Aldous said there was a 'great opportunity' to give the fishing industry all around the coast a fresh lease of life, and called for the government to have in mind 'the three R's - repatriation, reallocation and regeneration.'

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North-West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham also highlighted the opportunities for the industry, telling ministers The Wash was one of the most successful fisheries in Europe, with more than 100 boats fishing out of the King's Lynn. Boston and smaller ports such as Brancaster and Wells.

He claimed that for each job on a boat there were five support roles such as engineers, and processing businesses.

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He said the year-around fishing of shrimps was incredibly important to keep the processing plants open all year, quoting local fisherman John Lake who said it was 'the glue' that holds 'the entire fishery together'.

He said that its high export levels had seen the industry boosted by a fall in the value of the pound, but warned there was a 'crisis' looming with fishermen losing their ground as a result of RAF bombing ranges, wind turbines and conservation areas.

He said that the introduction of a permit scheme by the Eastern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority could reduce shrimp grounds further - and blamed EU regulations for the proposals.

Sir Henry also said there were 'massive opportunities post-Brexit' for the industry - but warned it would not be easy.

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