Members of Greenpeace are visiting Hastings on Wednesday (March 25) as part of their campaign to support local fishing fleets.
The group’s vessel, the Rising Tide, is sailing into town to highlight the problems small fleets, like the one in Hastings face.
The visit is part of Greenpeace’s pre-election tour with the New Under Tens Fishermen’s Association (NUTFA), visiting 25 English and Welsh ports where fishing has a proud history and are in constituencies that have been identified to be among the tightest election races in the country.
Greenpeace, which launched its Our net gain campaign last November, wants to put pressure on MPs and parliamentary candidates to become coastal champions and put local, low impact fishermen first. Meetings are being held where people can quiz their MP and candidates about whether their fishing policies will put local fishermen first.
Flags bearing the name of the port will be signed by the new coastal champions and will be flown on the Rising Tide throughout the tour. Everyone attending the events can sign bunting which by the end of the trip will reach more than 300 metres long and will be covered in thousands of signatures.
The tour will culminate just days before the election in the Fisheries Minister George Eustice’s constituency of Hayle.
There will be a public meeting on Wednesday at Classroom on the Coast in Rock-a-Nore Road from 6pm to 7.30pm.
Hannah Martin, Greenpeace campaigner, said: “During the tour, hundreds of MPs and candidates will be invited to the events and pledge to become coastal champions.
“They will need to answer tough questions and convince voters that they will put local, sustainable fishermen first if they win the next election.
“These events are not to be missed, look out for the Rising Tide as we bring the election trail to the coast and force candidates to promise to put local fishermen first.
“This is a huge effort to force the next government to end the historic neglect of local fishermen and fix a broken system which has led to the fishing quota ending up in the hands of foreign and industrial-scale fishing businesses. This has led to a crisis of the seas and coastal economies that can be turned around if enough MPs become coastal champions.
“The next government should implement new EU fishing law that says more fishing quota should be given to sustainable fishermen. That will create and protect jobs, inject cash into the economy and boost fish stocks.”
A full list of all the stops of the election boat tour can be found at www.greenpeace.org/coastalchampions.