Vlog # 5 Fishing Matters UK Does fishing matter? It certainly should. In every way, it has been a microcosm of what is wrong with EU membership. The U.K. began accession talks with the EEC on 30 June 1970. Eight hours later, six EC members agreed to have a common fisheries policy (CFP). This was the point that alarm bells should have been ringing. Loudly. It was enough to make Norway withdraw from attempting membership. Our negotiators should have been running for the hills. Instead, the British public were told that the CFP was a “fabulous deal”. Quite. So how “fabulous” is the CFP deal we got? On average, the U.K. fishing fleet has reduced by three boats per week, every week, for the last 30 years. 40% of Denmark’s entire fishing take comes from Britain’s territorial waters. In the Celtic Sea, France gets nearly three times the British allocation of Dover sole, roughly four times more cod and five times more haddock. France has 84% of the quota for cod in the English Channel, while Britain has only 9%. A single Dutch trawler the Cornelis Vrolijk, had the right to catch 23% of England’s entire fishing quota. In comparison the entire small inshore fishing fleet for the whole England is given 4% of the quota. European fishermen take 173 times more herring, 45 times more whiting, 16 times more mackerel, 14 times more haddock and 14 times more cod out of UK waters than British fishermen do. Reading that horror story, you would think that things couldn’t get any worse. But they are. In 2018, the British catch was down 4%. In 2019 it was down a further 11%. Indeed, we are a net importer of fish. We have to buy it in, because most of the fish in our waters go to the EU. And crazily, we actually have to pay the EU for creating this. The CFP costs every U.K. household around £7 per year. We pay for the destruction of our fleet, we pay for unsustainable amounts of fish to be taken from our waters, and we pay for our neighbours to take our fish. Ever feel you’re being mugged off? Because you are being mugged off. And it’s been going on for 50 years, year on year, with our own elected representatives either staying quiet about it, or even worse, actually defending it. And understand this. If CFP membership is the cost of a free trade deal, we’ll be expected to pay for it. And that is currently £138,000,000 a year. That’s not “free”. It’s not free at all. Fishing represents everything that is wrong with the EU. The cost is exorbitant, the benefits are non existent, the negotiations are torturous, and governance is incomprehensible. Fishing does matter. And it serves as a lesson on the pitfalls of appeasement. 50 years of abject humiliation because we failed to fight our corner. We cannot allow it to happen twice.