Thames21 today criticises the Fishing for Leave Protest – during which dead haddock were thrown into the Thames – because the stunt damages the river’s delicate ecosystem.
Fishermen and former UKIP leader Nigel Farage threw the fish from the boat at the end of a stunt organised by prominent Brexiteer politicians including Jacob Rees-Mogg along with the action group Fishing for Leave.
The stunt was organised as a protest against the UK government agreeing a “transition deal” with Brussels, whereby the Common Fisheries Policy will remain in place for 20 months after Britain leaves the EU in March 2019. The policy restricts the number of fish that British fishermen can catch and keep, with many being thrown back once a quota has been reached – something the protest was designed to symbolise.
The protest took place in central London, with the initial press conference outside Parliament in Westminster and the fish thrown into the river nearby.
In response to the action taken today on the river, Debbie Leach, chief executive of Thames21, said: “The Thames, and all rivers, are delicate ecosystems which need to be respected and protected. Rivers are not places to simply dump things, without a second thought.
“Today’s dumping of dead fish in the Thames increases the pollution load on an already stressed ecosystem, which Thames21 and others work hard to improve.
“It is also a worrying illustration of the significant risk to UK rivers, unless strong environmental legislation is included within the Brexit transition deal, so the Government has a duty to ensure this approach is reached.”