In what The Telegraph has dubbed "a grassroots revolt", David Bellamy, Dr Lee Rotheram and a number of Conservative politicians and activists have signed a letter to Oliver Letwin outlining the need to take action over Brussel’s damaging fishing policies.
They believe that "bringing fisheries home" would satisfy the conservative principles of conservation and localism, as well as the following criteria:
Ecological – "A proliferation of warnings alerts us to the ultimate decline and eventual collapse of North Sea stocks. To this, we add the ongoing disgrace of tens of thousands of tonnes of fish being discarded back into the sea. Instead of being consumed, and their catch levels monitored and recorded by scientists, they die and pollute the sea bed"
Political – "The fishing debate is of importance and
interest to a broader community than is sometimes given credit for. From a
selfish political perspective, a solid policy would win support in a number of
key marginals, and could not be outflanked by any of the other main political
National interest – "Other countries play hardball over their fishermen. The French demanded increased quotas as part of their price for Nordic accession. They did the same to us when we joined. The Spanish demanded faster access to the Irish box, threatening to veto other EU applicants. Standing up for fishermen is nothing new in Brussels."
Feasibility – "For some years, the Conservative Party has adopted a policy of repatriating control of fisheries from the European Union. This is an entirely achievable objective. All the research has already been done under Owen Paterson, with mechanisms for working with nature rather than in closed bureaucratic session. The areas his fisheries team visited overseas were recovering under self-management. Those methods can be applied today."
Click here to read the full letter.