An ex-Brexit Party MEP who owns a seafood company and campaigned on the benefits Brexit would hold for the fishing industry has bemoaned Boris Johnson’s deal for leaving her with “no fish”.
In a clip that quickly went viral on Twitter, June Mummery said that waiting five years for fishing quotas to expire was “a long time when you have nothing”.
Mummery campaigned with pro-Leave group Fishing for Leave in 2016 – and has repeatedly claimed that leaving the EU would benefit Britain’s fishermen and women.
“We are taking back full control of our waters and resources. Fishing shouldn’t even be in any deals,” she said in March.
“That GDP is not a small 2 percent. That GDP is 100 percent to coastal communities and we need that back.
“We have got a golden opportunity to rebuild our industry that quite frankly has been taken away from us.”
But in a new interview, she changed her tune. She said: “As fishing goes, and if we want to hang on to the industry we have, five years is a long time when you have nothing,” she said.
“We’re on our knees. We’ve waited 40 years and quite frankly a lot of people will pack up, including myself. I’ve got no fish!”
Mummery’s realisation came days after one of Devon’s largest fish exporters has admitted he “made a mistake” by voting for Brexit, revealing that he has been unable to send consignments to Europe since Boris Johnson’s deal with Brussels came into force.
“It’s just been an absolute nightmare,” Brixham-based fish merchant Ian Perkes told BylineTV. “If I could turn the clock back, would I have voted Leave? Of course not. I’d have wanted to stay in, for the future of my family.”
Perkes said he was struggling to be optimistic about the future of Britain’s fishing industry – despite promises that things will get better.
“The reality is, it’s now 20 January and we haven’t yet sent a consignment to Europe from Brixham,” he said. “Forty-four years I’ve been selling fish, and overnight it’s pretty much been destroyed. I don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel as we speak.”
Perkes added that he felt like he had been “taken along on the ride” by promises made by Johnson and others during the referendum campaign in 2016.
He said: “I think I was taken along on the ride that we all were on with the bus going around, we were going to save £350 million per week that we were throwing to Brussels, we were going to have this free trade and Europe were going to be desperate for our fish because we’d have control of it all and we’d be in control of our own destiny.
“I’m coming to the end of my career, but I think me and many others have perhaps made a mistake. I just thought there’d be a better future for myself and for my children, and my children’s children, to become independent and have our own fishing grounds.”