Molly Scott Cato MEP has slammed Cornish MP and Fisheries Minister, George Eustice, for making a ‘fishy case’ for voting to leave the EU.  The Green MEP challenged Eustice after he repeated a claim that, “from the point of view of the fishing industry, the case for leaving the EU is overwhelming.” Molly said:

“By arguing that Brexit will protect our fishing industry, the Fisheries Minister is swimming against the tide. The Marine Conservation Society has said it believes our EU membership has on the whole been very good for marine conservation and that it has serious concerns about the impacts of leaving the EU. Mr Eustice’s claim also comes soon after the EU agreed a sustainable Common Fisheries Policy; a policy that allocates 30% of the EU fishing quota to the UK, the second-largest after Spain. This is despite the fact that the UK’s coastal waters make up only 13% of the EU’s share of oceans around EU countries.”

Molly also points to the fact that Mr Eustice has admitted that even if the UK were to leave the EU, there would still need to be a quota system because quotas, “are the only system that works in a shared fishery with mobile species.” Molly said:

“I am pleased to see that Mr Eustice accepts free movement of fish as an inevitability and that international negotiation will always be crucial to effective fisheries management. This makes even more absurd the idea of turning our backs on our European neighbours and losing the influential position we hold in Europe.”

Molly also points to the support for our EU membership from the South West marine scientific community. In a statement, leaders of some of the region’s leading research centres say, “in the South West we have benefited enormously from EU membership which has enabled scientific collaboration and hence improvements in our economy and our environment [4].” Molly concluded:   

“Leading scientists working in the South West say our oceans are facing an environmental catastrophe with over-fishing, ocean acidification and pollution. This is another example of where only by working cooperatively with other European countries can we hope to make progress on protecting our marine environments”. 

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