Brexit vanguard abandoned by Theresa May: UK fishermen cut adrift by political elite

Fishermen discuss Brexit, political fatigue and future of their industryIBTimes UK

During the 2016 EU referendum, fishing quotas briefly became a major talking point in UK politics. Prominent Leave campaigners used the restrictive quotas to demonstrate the affect the EU had on British business, with then Ukip leader Nigel Farage even joining a flotilla of fishermen in a protest on the Thames.

"The quotas are so small they in some cases equate to half a fish a day," fisherman and Leave voter Paul Joy tells IBTimes UK by his boat in Hastings harbour.

"The stocks are abundant and the stocks are strong, but it doesn't matter how strong the stocks get, we'll never be able to fish it because all the fish is given to the other member states," he adds.

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Fishermen across the country became a politically mobilised group during the referendum campaign, with groups like Fishing for Leave gaining significant coverage. However, one year on from the vote, interest in the issue seems to have cooled.

"I do wonder whether anything will actually change, I really do" said Hastings fishermen Mark Woodley. "And a lot of the other fisherman are the same. We was hoping for great things, but she hasn't actually mentioned anything about fishing, Theresa May, has she?"

The seaside town of Hastings voted to Leave in the 2016 EU referendum.IBTimes UK

Many in the fishing industry seem to be experiencing political fatigue, 12 months on since the hard battle to leave the EU was won. Despite the big movement in June 2016, some have become sceptical about politics, especially ahead of the 2017 general election.

"Nobody is interested", said retired fisherman David 'Spider' Peters. "They [politicians] are just in it to get money for themselves, that's what I think personally. They just live like lords and all the poor people live worse than we used to years ago."

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