Fleetwood Labour MP Cat Smith – “If British fishing grounds were forfeited in the coming trade negotiations, constituents would regard it as a”betrayal”

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The MP says her constituents are regard it as a”betrayal” if British fishing grounds were forfeited during what are expected to be tough discussions with Brussels.

Other MPs echoed the comments from the Labour MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood including Tory representatives, with fishing constituencies.

During the debate at Westminster Hall, Ms Smith said that even though the fishing industry had been dramatically reduced in Fleetwood, there were still connections to fishing in town and a solid fish processing industry which was still a major employer.

She said communities had done so under the banner of taking back control of British waters and they didn’t need that control to be recovered for those waters to be then ceded within an EU trade negotiation.

She said:”If that fear is realised I cannot over-exaggerate the feeling of betrayal which will be felt, not just in Fleetwood but around the country.

“I have two main asks of the Fishing Bill.

“Firstly, it has to be a requirement that fish captured under UK quotas are landed in britain, because for every one job there is at sea, it supports ten jobs on shore and that’s a significant part of regeneration in coastal communities.

“And that fish caught on UK quotas be redistributed away from the large multinationals, because two thirds of employment in fishing is generated by the under 10 metre boats.”

At its peak, the Fleetwood fishing industry employed 9,000 people in the town but it was decimated after the closing Cod War in the 1970s, which resulted in British sea trawlers being barred from fishing grounds off Iceland.

The deep sea trawler left Fleetwood in 1982 and the town has struggled to recover.

Responding, Fisheries Minister George Eustice said:”We are very clear that we want to be… like Norway.

“We want to be an independent coastal state in charge of the resources in our oceans, having favorable yearly discussions with our neighbors, using a mutual exchange of accessibility and an annual discussion on the total allowable catch and who should have what share of the capture species .”

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