The Chief Executive of the Cornish FPO has written to all of Cornwall’s MP, which includes Secretary of State Environment, Food and Rural Affairs George Eustice, requesting a specific package of support for suffering financially as a result of Covid-19.
Paul Trebilcock points out in his letter that English fishermen have been left behind as the devolved administrations of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales have already put in place measures to support their fishing sectors.
‘DEFRA is behind the curve, leaving English – and our Cornish – fishermen facing the economic onslaught of Coronavirus without a safety net. When will this be addressed?’ he writes, adding that the UK Government has put in place generous, but generic, support packages for the employed and self-employed – but these fail to recognise the unique conditions of many fishermen.
‘With the Devolved Administrations acknowledging this and acting swiftly, fishermen across England are losing confidence in the Government as they await similar recognition,’ he warns the Cornish MPs.
‘The very real short-term pain of coronavirus impacts on the Cornish fishing industry must not be allowed to erode our ability to reap the rewards of our withdrawal from the EU – support to bolster the industry through this time will be critical in positioning us to maximise benefits to fishing communities once the pandemic is over.’
‘As UK consumers look for new avenues to fresh, healthy food – there is an opportunity to stimulate some demand in the domestic market through direct sales to households (see the excellent work of Seafood Cornwall #FishToYourDoor campaign). As a foothold in securing a taste at home for UK-caught, local fish species, this is not to be ignored. The industry must be shored up in order to capitalise on this in future, as we leave the EU.’