MEP in visit to town

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AN MEP is due to visit Whitby today (15 April) to talk to fishermen about the problems facing the industry – but many of them won’t be able to make it.

Linda McAvan, the Yorkshire and Humber MEP, has, through the local Labour party, arranged to meet fishermen and boat owners because she was unable to attend a meeting last November arranged by the Whitby Gazette as part of the Fight For Our Fleet Campaign.

But most of the town’s fishermen will be at sea over the next couple of days to try to take advantage of the best market prices prior to the Easter holidays.

James Cole, joint skipper of the Good Intent III, said he wasn’t even aware of the meeting.

He said: “Everybody from the trawling side will be out I would have thought.

“Any time after next weekend the lads won’t go anywhere for four or five days because of market forces and with it being Good Friday.

“We all have our opinions on what’s happening.

“We are having to work at North Shields now. The last couple of times we have left the boat at Shields and come home in the car.

“It is five hours on the boat or an hour and 20 minutes in the car and half the cost.

It is costing about £3,000 a week in diesel – it is absolutely astronomical.

“But you have to go the best

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place you can and get the best price for the fish.”

John Whitton, owner of Never Can Tell A, added: “This is the Labour Party trying to drum up a bit of support because the elections are coming up – that is what this is all about.”

Gerald Dennett from the Labour Party said: “The November meeting was exactly the day she had her meeting for the whole of Yorkshire and the Humber.

“Obviously the Common Fisheries Policy is being negotiated as we speak and it will be discussed in the European Parliament.

“We want our representative to represent the views of our fishermen and that is why she is coming.”

The meeting is at the Fishermen’s Club today from 12.30pm.