A Brexit transition deal has been agreed with Brussels which means the EU will continue to have control of the UK’s waters until the end of 2020 which protestors are decrying as a “potential death sentence” for the British fishing fleet.
MP for north east Somerset Mr Rees-Mogg, who leads a group of more than 60 Eurosceptic Conservative MPs in the European Research Group (ERG), has also got backing from Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson who warned the 13 Tory MPs in Scotland will oppose any Brexit deal that “fails to deliver full control over fish stocks and vessel access”.
A spokesman for the ERG said: “If Brexit means Brexit, we have to take control of our fish.”
A source close to Mr Rees-Mogg said there was an “absolute need to take control of UK waters, the transition is appalling for our fishermen”.
Mr Rees-Mogg will be joined by Conservative MPs Craig MacKinlay and Sheryll Murray who intend to board a fishing boat on Wednesday and throw a full box of haddock, skate, and bass into the Thames to garner attention for the betrayal.
Alan Hastings Spokesman for Fishing for Leave, the group which organised the “Battle of the Thames” protest in the 2016 referendum, said: “This is a death sentence for what is left of the EU fleet because the EU will enforce detrimental legislation, especially the discard ban, to cull the EU fleet and then claim the resources we can’t catch anymore as their own.
“The EU has every incentive to wipe us out in 21 months and they will be ruthless enough to do it. And our lot have put us in this position.”
During the 2016 “Battle of the Thames” Remain campaigners, led by Bob Geldof, gatecrashed a protest organised by Fishing for Leave which was attended by Nigel Farage and Labour’s Kate Hoey.
The two boats traded insults and began a water fight right outside the Houses of Parliament.
It is believed the issue of fishing rights will likely overshadow the European Council meeting on Thursday.
Many fishermen consider the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), which gave access to UK fishing waters to other EU member states, as one of the main reasons for the decline in the fishing industry.
Fishermen wanted the UK to regain full control over fishing waters immediately after the UK leaves in March 2019.
But the EU will still maintain control until the start of 2021 and the UK will only be “consulted” on quotas.
Campaigners also fear the UK’s fishing fleet will be radically cut back because of the deal.
Michael Gove, one of the leaders in the Leave campaign, joined forces with Ms Davidson last week to say the Uk must leave the Common Fisheries Policy next year and rejected the EU’s demand for “existing” access to UK waters in a future trade deal.
The Conservatives also won key coastal seats in Scotland and the west coast in the general election after making promises about using Brexit to protect the fishing industry.
Theresa May’s minority Government could struggle to get a Brexit deal through Parliament without the support the Eurosceptic wing of her Party.