"Letter to Elliot Morley, MP, Minister for Fishing"

Recently I visited and had detailed discussions with fishermen and others associated with the industry at Fleetwood, Lancashire, and Whitehaven, Cumbria. You will not be surprised to learn that they are very unhappy people, not least because of what they perceive to be the lack of interest and commitment by the British Government in fighting their corner in Europe. They are also aggrieved at the lack of response to their concern from you or your Department.

I am sure that you are only too well aware of their arguments, namely:

1. The need to conserve and re-grow stocks in the North Irish Sea/Morecambe Bay grounds.

2. The detrimental implications of the imminent return of EU vessels with more powerful engines, smaller nets and a market requirement for smaller fish than are popular on the British market.

3. The threat to livelihoods of local fishermen with no other grounds to fish but their inshore waters.

4. The refusal of HMG to offer grants or subsidies comparable to other EU member states.

5. The end of quotas and the implementation of zoning.

Both groups told me that you are on record as stating that MAFF would not provide any financial support unless it could be demonstrated that other countries were doing the same. I enclose an article from a recent edition of "Fishing News" which suggests that the Portuguese are receiving such support. Will you now abide by your promise?

I intend to pursue these matters with the appropriate Commissioner, in conjunction with all and any colleagues in the European Parliament who have the interests of NW fishermen at heart.

I would be grateful for an early and cogent response to my queries and those of my fishing constituents.

They must know that the Government is on their side and that other Member States are not crushing their industry to death.

Elliot Morley, Esq., MP.,
Parliamentary Secretary,
Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food,
Nobel House,
17 Smith Square,
London,
SW1P 3JR.

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