THE impact of European laws on Hartlepool’s fishing industry will be debated at a meeting next week.
The local branch of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) is arranging the public meeting on Tuesday night.
Organisers say it is being held to highlight what it calls the “disastrous” impact the UK’s membership of the European Union is having on the country’s traditional fishing industry.
UKIP’s Hartlepool press secretary Dave Pascoe said: “This meeting in Hartlepool is one of a number being undertaken in fishing towns and ports up and down the country.
“We will be highlighting the extent that the UK fishing industry has been decimated by our membership of the EU and the loss of control over our territorial waters.
“We urge as many members of the public as possible to attend this meeting.”
It will be held at Hartlepool Cricket Club, Park Drive, and start at 7.30pm.
The guest speaker will be Ray Finch, UKIP MEP for the South-East, who has been appointed the party’s fishing industry spokesman.
He recently spoke out against a proposed EU ban on drift net fishing in European waters from next January.
Mr Finch told the EU’s Committee on Fisheries in July: “Small under 10-metre boats in the UK are being unfairly penalised by a measure which is intended principally for the avoidance of Mediterranean bycatch of turtles and diving birds.
“This is not relevant to UK fisheries which have little if any bycatch.
“We have in the UK had for centuries the sustainable fishing industry of this type, and the EU’s archetypal one size fits all policy is utterly unfit for purpose.
“The seas around the UK are completely different from the Mediterranean and must be treated as such. If the EU must be making the rules then there must be at least exceptions for small boats at the heart of UK communities.”
UKIP’s parliamentary candidate for Hartlepool Phillip Broughton will also speak.
The European Commission says the fishing industry could collapse if it is not controlled.