Fishing tackle at Pittenweem, the most active port left on the East Neuk coast of Fife: EU fishing regulations have almost wiped the industry out.
Iceland, historically hostile to the European Union, found after the banking crisis of 2008 that they have been forced to start negotiations to join the EU. But those negotiations have stalled – one reason being that the Icelandic people quickly recognised that the EU saw the opportunity for a massive smash-and-grab attack on Iceland’s mackerel and other fishing stocks.
It looked as though the same fishing robbery that occurred when Heath took Britain into the European Union was about to be repeated – until the Icelandic people said NO! The EU is now threatening sanctions and effectively an embargo on Iceland’s fishing fleet deliveries. Brussels uses the argument of overfishing and threats to the sustainability of mackerel and other fish, despite Iceland’s evidence that mackerel stocks are at their highest recorded levels.
In 1970 there were over 400 trawlers operating out of Grimsby. In 1975, when Britain entered into the European Economic Community, forerunner of the European Union, Britain’s fishing grounds were opened up to EU control. The result: the number of trawlers has dropped dramatically, with only five working boats now operating from Grimsby. The EU ripped the heart out of Britain’s fishing and trawler industry.
Grimsby has survived by processing fish from Iceland: 4,000 workers are employed in Grimsby processing between 13,000 and 18,000 tonnes of fish a year, the vast majority delivered by Icelandic boats. An EU embargo would destroy those jobs, and the largest cold storage and fresh fish processing plants in Europe.
The European Union destroyed Britain’s fishing industry. It cannot be allowed to threaten another sovereign nation’s industry and independence. ■