Europe

Brexiteer confronts Carrie Johnson on EU ‘killing machines’ plundering UK waters

Brexit: Boris Johnson given 'misinformation' says Mummery

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And the former Brexit Party MEP questioned the Government’s Green credentials, while branding the massive ships, most of which are EU-flagged, “killing machines”. Ms Mummery, a tireless campaigner for the rights of British fishermen, was apparently moved to respond after reading a tweet from Ms Johnson posted in 2017.

In it, the former Tory Party staffer, who has also worked in public relations for conservation project Oceana, said: “Vince Cable wrong to say that Brexit will mean we dilute environmental standards.

“Gove is clear, if anything we can now have higher standards.”

Referring to data published by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) earlier this year, related to the number of fishing licences issued by the Government, Ms Mummery replied: “With due respect your husband handed over the UK’s most sustainable, renewable resource “Fishing”.

“1,700 EU vessels plundering our Ocean on a daily basis eight of which are supertrawlers, killing machines, catching vast amounts of fish, not being policed, do you think this is Green?”

Concerns about so-called ”industrial fishing” techniques prompted a flotilla of fishing boats, accompanied by Greenpeace activists, to sail up the Thames towards the Houses of Parliament last month.

Martin Yorwarth, a south coast fisherman who took part, said: “Fishermen like me care deeply about our oceans.

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“We’re custodians of our seas, and we need them to stay healthy to keep us in the job.

“It hurts me to see these huge factory ships and fly-shooters plundering our waters, hoovering up fish, destroying habitats and leaving nothing left for us.

“If our Government doesn’t do something to stop the industrial fishing that’s destroying our oceans, then there won’t be another generation of local fishermen like me.”

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Neil Whitney, a south coast fishermen who is part of the flotilla, added: “Brexit was meant to save us, but instead we’ve been left high and dry.

“These big factory boats keep fishing in our waters, devastating fish populations. There’s nothing left for us local fishermen.

“We need the Government to do what it promised, and ban industrial fishing to protect us fishermen and our fishing communities.”

Fiona Nicholls, an Oceans Campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said: “The Government must heed the warning of fishermen and environmentalists.

“Never before have fishermen called for such strong marine protection measures, which should give politicians some idea of the scale of the problem facing them.

“Brexit gave us a once in a generation opportunity to become a true world leader in marine protection, with thriving coastal communities, but our government is letting this opportunity pass us by.”

Supertrawlers, including the Polish-flagged Annelies Ilena, and the Dutch-flagged Willem van der Zwan, as well fly-shooters and bottom trawlers, spend thousands of hours each year fishing in UK protected areas, according to various Greenpeace analyses.

Supertrawlers’ fishing times in UK protected areas rose by 1000 percent between 2017 and 2020, while bottom trawlers’ fishing times in UK protected areas increased by 10 percent between 2019 and 2020.

Fly-shooters spent 32,000 hours fishing in UK waters in 2020 with no impact assessment by the UK Government.

Express.co.uk has contacted Defra for comment.

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