Mike Hookem MEP, UKIP Fisheries spokesman blasts Gove for claiming Danish fishermen will still be able to catch large amounts of fish in British waters, even if the British leave the EU
He accused Michael Gove of “beginning the sell out” of the British fishing industry and “showing his true colours”, after the Danish newspaper, Finans, reported the Environment Minister had suggested “Danish fishermen will still be able to catch large amounts of fish in British waters, even if the British leave the EU.”
Michael Gove is also reported to have told representatives of the Danish food industry that “Britain has no fish cutters and production facilities enough to catch all the fish in British waters. [sic]”
Mr Hookem, UKIP’s fisheries spokesman, blasted the comments saying, “Gove’s comments prove the Conservatives are not serious about regaining our fishing grounds and are instead looking to barter them away around Europe in return for Brexit concessions.
“As in Edward Heath’s day, the Conservatives are doing nothing more than stringing the British fishing industry along with vague promises, when it is obvious they fully intend to sell Britain’s rich fishing rights back to the EU post-Brexit."
Speaking from his home city of Hull, Mr Hookem continued, “The second betrayal of the fishing industry has been on the cards since the Conservative’s failed to mention reclaiming our 200-mile fishing limit in their manifesto. The 200 mile EEZ was a crucial demand of those who fought for Brexit and is something we are entitled to under international law.
“The fact that Gove is now openly telling EU fishing nations that they will still have access to British waters post-Brexit proves a second Conservative betrayal of the British fishing industry is all but inevitable.
“It does not matter a damn that the British fishing industry may not currently have the capacity to process all the fish caught in British waters. This is nothing more than an excuse!
“With firm commitments from the Government and the inclusion of legislation in the new Fisheries Bill that demands all fish caught in British waters are landing here; entrepreneurs within the fishing industry would find the investment and open new facilities to match the increased demand.
“Not only would this move bring large amounts of revenue into the UK, but it would also help to kick start the regeneration and bring much needed jobs to many struggling coastal communities.
“However, who is going to start investing when there is still so much uncertainty? Michael Gove and the Government need to take positive steps to show they are committed to reclaiming our waters, our fishing and our fishing industry, rather than making vague promises on one side, yet making the opposite promise on the other.
"However, the problem is that the Conservatives neither understand or care about the fishing industry and see it as nothing more than a bargaining chip to be used at their leisure.”