Pro-Brexit Fishing for Leave says the Government is “complicit in corruption and scandal” after Defra hosted a meeting between the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO) and Dutch fishing group VisNed.
The NFFO and the Dutch group were meeting to reach an agreement to restrict Dutch pulse fishing vessels operating in “some of the most sensitive areas off the English coast”, according to the NFFO.
Pulse fishing uses devices to send electricity into the seabed where it disturbs marine life, with the aim of causing fish to move into the nets.
Barrie Deas, the NFFO’s chief executive, said: “Pulse fishing is a highly controversial and emotive issue at present.
Government faces accusations that Defra helped a group of Dutch fishermen operate inside UK waters
NFFO and the Dutch group were meeting to reach an agreement to restrict Dutch pulse fishing vessels
We feel it’s grossly unfair that the questionable meeting was held on Defra’s premises
“The extent to which pulse fishing is more or less impactful on the marine environment than conventional beam trawling is currently being studied.
“The outcome of this research will be significant in shaping future policy.”
However, Fishing for Leave insists the NFFO does not truly represent the interests of British fishermen in the argument, because its membership is made up of around “70 percent EU flagships”, a figure disputed by Mr Deas.
Fishing for Leave spokesman Alan Hastings said: “Flagships are vessels which belong to EU fishing companies, but which could register shell companies in Britain under the right to ‘freedom of establishment’ under the EU’s four freedoms.