THE National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations, which has been highly critical of Brussels on fishing matters in the past, says it will not take a stand in the forthcoming EU referendum debate.
It will, however, invite both camps to outline their prospectus for the UK’s fisheries, in or out of the EU.
A recent meeting of the NFFO’s executive committee took the view that the role of the federation is to influence government, whether the UK is inside or outside the EU.
It is not to seek to influence the outcome of a democratic process in which all its members have a vote. The NFFO represents fishermen in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
But the executive felt that the NFFO could provide a valuable platform on the referendum that could inform our members’ decision on June 23.
Politicians such as George Eustice will be invited to contribute a blog on the federation’s website on what the fisheries regime would look like outside the EU.
Similarly, prominent figures in the ‘remain’ camp will be asked to write on the future of our fisheries within the EU and CFP.
NFFO chairman Tony Delahunty (pictured) said: ‘This is an important issue for the fishing industry and our executive gave a great deal of consideration to weighing the options.
‘The day after the referendum, the NFFO will have a job to do, either in the negotiation of new bilateral fisheries agreements, or to defend the industry within the CFP.
‘The choice will lie with the electorate but we will deal with the consequences either way. It’s important that vote is taken in as full knowledge as possible of the consequences and inviting the parties to describe the pros and cons to the fishing industry is probably the best way to achieve this.’