The EU supertrawler dispute erupts on the River Thames, with a flotilla of enraged fishermen storming the capital.
On Wednesday, a flotilla of fishing ships sailed down the Thames to Westminster, asking that the government defend British seas from mostly EU-based mega trawlers.
Greenpeace activists are supporting the protest by waving banners that read “No fish, no future” from the Westminster and Lambeth bridges. This is the first time a large flotilla of fishing boats has protested in the Thames since 2016, when Nigel Farage led a pro-Brexit demonstration aboard many vessels.
Supertrawlers and bottom trawlers, which are primarily located in EU ports, are being called for to be banned from British seas in the English Channel and North Sea by fishermen.
Greenpeace, an environmental organization, warned that until this happened, “fishing villages and employment will vanish.”
One of the fisherman on the flotilla, Neil Whitney, said, “Brexit was supposed to help us, but instead we’ve been left high and dry.”
“These large factory fishing boats continue to fish in our seas, decimating fish populations.
“Nothing is left for the local fishermen. To preserve us fishermen and our fishing villages, we need the government to follow through on its promise and ban industrial fishing.”
Another protester, Martin Yorwarth, who generally operates off the coast of England, expressed similar feelings.
“Fishermen like me care greatly about our oceans,” he said.
“We’re stewards of our oceans, and we need them to be healthy in order for us to keep our jobs.
“Seeing these massive factory ships and fly-shooters ravaging our waters, hoovering up fish, destroying habitats, and leaving nothing for us saddens my heart.
“There will be no more generations of local fishermen like me if our government does nothing to stop the industrial fishing that is killing our oceans.” EU fishing vessels might theoretically be barred from UK waters after 2026 under the terms of Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal, which was reached in December 2020.
This, however, raises the possibility of export limits or retaliatory tariffs on British goods.
Mr Johnson claimed in January 2021 that Brexit would allow the UK to ban EU “hoover trawlers” from its waters, but this has yet to happen.
“Our oceans and our fishing communities are in crisis,” Fiona Nicholls, an Ocean Campaigner with Greenpeace UK, said. Industrial fishing vessels are harming marine ecosystems and depleting our fisheries even in allegedly protected zones.
“This is a serious emergency, and there will be no resolution unless the government takes immediate measures to rein in commercial fishing by prohibiting supertrawlers, bottom trawlers, and fly-shooters.”Brinkwire Summary News”.