Aldous backs Fish Fight in the House of Commons

Waveney MP Peter Aldous yesterday backed the fish fight campaign in a Back Bench Business Debate on Fisheries in the House of Commons.

Peter Aldous (Waveney) (Con): I am grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for Richmond Park (Zac Goldsmith) for seeking this debate and to the Backbench Business Committee for granting it. It is important for me to speak in it because the future of the fishing industry is of crucial importance to Lowestoft in my constituency, where fishing has a long and proud record.

Last October, I secured an Adjournment debate on the future of the inshore fishing fleet on these coasts. The crisis facing the industry at that time and the solutions remain the same, so I will not repeat them, as they are on the record. There have, however, been four significant developments since last October.

First, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Fish Fight campaign has brought into the nation’s living rooms the scandal and obscenity of discards. As a result, our inboxes have been full. The nation has spoken; it will no longer put up with this practice.

Secondly, it is clear from her speech on 1 March that Commissioner Maria Damanaki understands the problem and appreciates that drastic action is required. She said:

“Let’s be honest, if we continue this it is like treating a serious illness with aspirin”.

There will be vested interests opposed to the commissioner as she seeks to reform the common fisheries policy next year. Our Members of the European Parliament need to give her the support she needs and deserves.

Thirdly, my hon. Friend the fisheries Minister has launched his own consultation on the future management of the domestic fisheries in England. This contains some positive proposals. It is encouraging that DEFRA appears to accept that fishing stocks are a national resource and that no third parties have acquired any proprietorial rights.

The final development since last autumn is that the Lowestoft industry continues to decline. The fishermen are allowed to catch fewer fish; they have extra costs to bear; and it is an increasingly difficult struggle for them to carry on. Only last month, the Europa café in the fish market, which has served breakfasts to fishermen for decades, was forced to close due to a continuing decline in business.

It feels as if an ambulance is now on the way, but I worry about whether the patient will be alive when it reaches the scene of the accident. The sands of time are running out for Lowestoft fishermen. I support the motion. It is important that none of us sits back and rests until a fishing regime that has almost destroyed the British fishing industry is itself discarded and thrown overboard.

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Surgeries

Peter holds regular surgeries at various locations in the constituency. Please call 01502 586568 to make an appointment.

Next Surgeries - 2018: 
Beccles, Saturday 7th July
Lowestoft, Wednesday 25th July

 

 

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