Fishing industry bosses in Lynn have demanded their trade is protected when negotiations over Britain’s departure from the European Union finally get underway.
With the government set to officially begin the Brexit process next week, members of the town’s Fisher Fleet met UKIP officials today to set out their demands from the talks.
They say they are worried that fishing rights to UK waters could be negotiated away as part of the discussions.
Steven Williamson, managing director of Lynn Shellfish, said: “We want to let the people know the UK fishing industry is a very important industry.
“We’re fed up of being stood on, trod on and having our livelihoods taken away from us by the EU.
“If UKIP are prepared to stand and fight for us, good for them.”
A meeting took place at the Dukes Head Hotel this afternoon to discuss issues including fishing quotas and the capping of vessels’ activities, plus other more local concerns.
UKIP East of England MEP Stuart Agnew said the party feared fishing rights in British waters could be used as a “bargaining chip” in a bid to ensure tariff-free access to the EU’s single market.
He said: “We want to go back to 1970. We want a completely independent country, running its own economic zone out to 200 miles off shore. That’s Brexit.”
June Mummery, who owns the Lowestoft Fish Auction, said prime minister Theresa May should draw on the spirit of Margaret Thatcher to stand up for the industry.
She claimed compromising control of British waters would be an act of treachery.
She added: “She’d be a coward to do that.”
UKIP fisheries spokesman Mike Hookem said the industry would be in a “terminal” state without regaining control of Britain’s territorial waters.
He said the issue was a “red line” for the party, adding: “We’ve got a huge chance to right a wrong that goes back 40 years.
“They stole our fishing industry from us. They’ve got a chance to put that right.
“For every one man employed at sea, there’s 10 on shore. There’s a whole industry around the port. It’s a huge opportunity for us.”