The NFFO has written to the leaders of the main political parties, and to UK fisheries ministers and shadows, pressing them to condemn Greenpeace’s most recent publicity stunt in unequivocal terms.
Letters have been sent to Boris Johnson MP, Keir Starmer MP, Ed Davey MP, George Eustice MP, Victoria Prentis MP, Luke Pollard MP and Alistair Carmichael MP.
You have doubtless learnt that this week Greenpeace have been dumping large boulders to obstruct legitimate fishing activity in the Offshore Brighton Marine Conservation Zone.
We want to know where you stand on this type of illegal activity.
We all know that political parties court the green vote. For the record we fully acknowledge that, as an industry, we need healthy seas and a functioning ecosystem and that well- planned and implemented marine protected areas have a role in achieving these objectives.
But we want to know if you publicly condemn, in unequivocal terms, vigilante action that is illegal, and recklessly endangers crews and fishing vessels. Whatever differences we may have with the Government over the implementation of its policies on marine protected areas, we need to know that we are not moving into an era where policy is dictated by media savvy bullies.
In short, we need to know whose side are you on?
I look forward to hearing from you as a matter of urgency.
Marine Management Organisation
The NFFO has previously written to the MMO demanding action to prevent escalation to the point at which we are dealing with a tragedy and not just media savvy bullies.
“It is quite plain that Greenpeace believe that they are operating under an umbrella of impunity and will continue, and possibly escalate, illegal activities against the fishing industry at time and place of their choosing.
The fishing industry has the right to demand protection and immediate and proportionate enforcement action. Proportionate in this context means that penalties and enforcement action should be on a scale to have a dissuasive effect on Greenpeace’s future illegal activities.
You cannot but be aware of the effect that the MMO’s lack of action on this issue has on the fishing industry’s morale and perception that they are not being dealt with in an even- handed way. Greenpeace may have friends in high places and the media but this cannot abrogate the MMO from its responsibility to execute its duties fairly, proportionately and in an even handed manner.”