Brexit fishing grounds bid is gathering pace

Fleetwood fishermen at Jubilee Quay who are supporting a fishing petition.  Pictured are John Worthington, Tony Cowell, Brian Cato, Will Bamber and Jeff Martin.
Fleetwood fishermen at Jubilee Quay who are supporting a fishing petition. Pictured are John Worthington, Tony Cowell, Brian Cato, Will Bamber and Jeff Martin.

A nationwide online petition calling for British fishing grounds to returned to the UK – which has attracted much support in Fleetwood – has now exceeded 50,000 names.

The campaign, called “Ensure the British fishing waters are returned to the UK post Brexit”, was launched nationally by former fisherman Thomas Lewis in February, with a view to gaining 100,000 names and having the issue debated in Parliament.

Campaigners argue that with the UK poised to leave the EU, the nation’s fishing grounds should be restored to the pre-EU boundaries, without interference and restrictions from Brussels.

The petition gathered 53,260 signatures by Friday teatime today.

Former fisherman Brian Cato, 65, of Beach Road, Fleetwood, has signed the petition, said: “The fishing industry in this country would be worth billions if properly managed, and create tens of thousands of jobs. We know Fleetwood’s industry can never return to what it was like but it can be much bigger than it currently is.”

A spokesman for the Government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs responded to the petition: “On leaving the EU, the UK will control fisheries access in its Exclusive Economic Zone and manage those waters in accordance with international law, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

“As a coastal state outside the EU, the UK will be responsible, under international law, for control of UK waters and the sustainable management of fisheries within the UK’s Exclusive economic Zone. The UK will negotiate as an independent coastal state.”