Farage’s stance on fishing is gutless

Nigel Farage was a member of the European Parliament Fisheries Committee. He turned up to just one out of 42 meetings


UKIP’s new election poster is a corker. Unveiled in Grimsby yesterday, the poster highlights the plight of fishing businesses that have been “ripped apart due to the EU” and depicts a fishermen who is ‘gutted’. But on the issue of fishing, it’s Farage who is gutless.

It is true that local fishermen around our coast are struggling to survive and are furious after neglect by successive governments. But blaming the EU is a redundant argument because the laws that govern fishing in Europe have been reformed. Farage needs to get the guts to admit that the new Common Fisheries Policy is the best deal for the UK’s local, sustainable fleet in years, and that many fishermen rely on the EU market to make a living.

UKIP didn’t lift a finger to support this huge win for local fishermen. A close inspection of UKIP’s dismal voting record in the European Parliament on fish and Nigel Farage’s appalling attendance on the Fisheries Committee makes a mockery of UKIP’s claim to be standing up for fishermen.

Over three crucial years, during which key decisions were made on the reform of the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), Nigel Farage was a member of the European Parliament Fisheries Committee. He turned up to just one out of 42 meetings.

Greenpeace research released yesterday showed that during the three major votes to fix the flaws of the CFP between 2012-2014, Nigel Farage didn’t bother to vote . This is despite the fact he was in the building.

A particularly crucial reform made to these new EU fishing laws in 2013 introduces an obligation on all Member States to give more fishing quota to sustainable fishermen who create jobs and contribute the most to local, coastal economies, i.e. the fishermen the UKIP’s poster is aimed at. But Nigel Farage again did not show up to vote for this important measure.

Greenpeace and fishermen from the New Under Ten Fishermen’s Association have embarked on a two month, pre-election boat tour that encompasses over 50 English and Welsh marginal coastal constituencies.

MPs and parliamentary candidates at these events are pledging to become coastal champions and put local fishermen first if they win the next election. The turnout has been remarkable with over 100 candidates making the pledge. Farage didn’t come to an event organised by fishermen and Greenpeace in his target constituency of Thanet South recently. All of the parliamentary candidates except for Nigel Farage attended and pledged that if they won the next election, they would work their hardest to get more fishing quota and a better deal for the many angry fishermen who were at the event.

But in several constituencies where UKIP has gained popularity, Labour candidates have also failed to attend or make the pledge – an omission which has been noted by fishermen around the coast. Combined with Labour’s lack of clear policy position on implementation of the CFP, fishermen are viewing Labour candidates with uncertainty.

Despite all this, it’s unsurprising fishermen are listening to UKIP because so far none of the major parties has shown a genuine interest in addressing the thorny issue of redistributing fishing quota to those that most need it. Up and down the coast in Labour and Tory heartlands alike during this tour, we’ve heard fishermen express how they feel politicians of all colours have failed them.

However, fishermen are not fooled by UKIP’s claim that they are standing up for them. They are looking for a clear sign from the parties who have ignored them for decades, that they are now willing to stand up for them and take their demands seriously.

Ariana Densham is an oceans campaigner for Greenpeace

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17 Responses to “Farage’s stance on fishing is gutless”

  1. towhommaybe

    There was no point in trying to change things in the EU Parliament as Brussels have the fishing rights all sewn up and are adamantly against changing them. They have the power to enforce their will on UK in any case, and they use it. Knowing this all to well and that ONLY an EU exit would reverse the huge and unfair decline in UK fishing fleet, Farage wisely concentrated his time and energy rather upon the campaign to build up his party in UK, develop UKIP’s election policy, campaign and publicise for the coming election and for winning his own seat. Farage is the only really decent citizen standing as party leader and the most perceptive and correct policy-maker with first things first. Out of EU!

  2. Leon Wolfeson

    You’re making excuses. Over and over.

    The fact is that Farage did not vote, he didn’t *care* enough to do that. He’s posturing, and only posturing.

    He’s taking taxpayer cash from the EU and not doing his *job*. As you praise a banker who dosn’t do his job, as you whine that trade is bad for the UK, lie about the borders, lie about the constitutional setup of the country, don’t notice Farage’s massively anti-small-business policies…

    Sinn Fein beat the UKIP for morals. Takes doing.

  3. Luke Barnett

    UKIP don’t vote on ANYTHING and they made this completely clear when the MAJORITY of the UK electorate voted them into the EU parliament. Complying with the EU’s bureaucratic process is a sign of accepting it and the MAJORITY of the UK do not accept the EU or it’s laws!

  4. JoeDM

    He is not elected to make the EU work !!!

  5. Tommo

    I see that new official data shows that for the last 6 months the UK has
    exported more to the rest of the world than to the EU.

    The failing EU is no longer our largest market !!!

  6. Luke Barnett

    bravo sir!

  7. Leon Wolfeson

    And I’ll berate them for not doing their jobs every time, and?

    You are highlighting how badly they’re sabotaging British interests – they don’t have the support of the majority of those eligible to vote in EU elections, and as you note, they reject the *democratic process*.

    And of course you blame the EU for everything. And those are the towns you think are too well off because trade happens.

  8. Leon Wolfeson

    Yes, he is. That’s what being a MEP means. He’s refusing to do his job.
    You support him leeching.

  9. Leon Wolfeson

    We use the trade treaties the EU has negociated with other countries heavily, you noticed! Treaties which require EU membership to access. (As trade simply varies, as usual)

    The EU is doing fine, the UK is the country falling behind. Your opposition to trade in general…to make us even worse off…

  10. 0rangeman

    It is a a complete RED HERRING to accuse Nigels turning up or not for EU votes as this is based on the premise that his vote would have changed its deprimental decisions IT WOULDNT! Since 1996 Business For Britain ran a study into our alleged influence over such deprimental decisions by the EU and it concluded that on EVERY SINGE OCCASION since then our governments attempts to overturn such damaging decisions have been outvoted by the other EU members I repeat ON EVERY SINGLE OCCASION.
    For over a 1,000 years our fishermen sustainably supplied all our needs from our fish rich waters. However since the great and the good frivolously bartered away nour waters to their EU masters we are reduced to importing 2/3rds of all the fish we consume.

    If that wasn’t bad enough most of those imports are fish CAUGHT IN OUR UK WATERS, hoovered up
    by for example Spanish Belgian or French industrial sized trawlers part subsidised by UK taxpayers running on fuel also part subsidised by UK taxpayers.

    Meanwhile our trawler fleets have and are being decimated whilst we are fed lies about it being necessary to conserve fish stocks and in fact these foreigners are buying up our catch quotas. Its madness and the only way to halt it is as Nigel says is to get us out of this toxic club completely!

  11. Leon Wolfeson

    What nonsense. Of course it would, it’s called democracy, a process he is not getting involved in.

    The reason the UK is outvoted sometimes is we refuse to engage properly in the EU.
    Your fake concern is just that, as he’s chosen not to try and change things.

    Moreover, his anti-trade stance will hammer those ports even harder.

  12. RebelWitch

    The writer, by referring to UKIP’s so called “dismal voting record” in the EU Parliament, just shows that he/she is ignorant of UKIP’s approach. UKIP MEPs do not vote for any measure that would increase the power or legitimise the control of the EU over sovereign states.

    Of course, if they turned up to vote as diligently as the other Europhile parties did, the likes of Left Foot Forward would castigated them hypocrisy.

    The EU may have reformed the fishing rules – it remains to be seen how effective the “reform” will be – but the damage was done a long time ago and reforming the laws now is merely shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted (in fact the colt that bolted has now died of old age).

    More fishermen were made redundant than Miners. The left still hate Thatcher for supposedly destroying mining, but they seem to have this weird blind spot that stops them hating the EU for doing the exact same thing to the fishermen.

  13. RebelWitch

    UKIP don’t vote for anything that increases the control and power of the EU. Read some Farage and you’d know this.

  14. RebelWitch

    Nigel Farage was elected by UKIP voters. UKIP voters do not vote for Farage or any other UKIP candidate so that they can to to the EU and go native. We vote for them so that they go to the EU Parliament, stick two fingers up at the unelected dictators of the EU Commission and come back and report about what’s going on over there.

    They’re doing a fabulous job of it. More damp rag speeches, Mr Farage!

  15. RebelWitch

    The EU’s share of world trade has plummeted in the last 20 years. They have yet to conclude a trade deal with India or the US both of which the UK trades with extensively. We do not need the EU.

    Have some faith in your country!

  16. RebelWitch

    The EU Parliament is there to provide a facade of democracy only. It has no power to originate laws or to repeal them – it’s main function is to rubber stamp (in conjunction with the Council) the legislation produced by the EU Commission, which has the SOLE right under the Treaties to originate laws.

    It’s all there in the treaties and on the EU website, if you care to look.

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