Low tide scuppers UKIP fishing boat armada in Sunderland

UKIP MEP Jonathan Arnott and members launching their campaign

UKIP MEP Jonathan Arnott and members launching their campaign

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UKIP’S Wearside policy launch was left high and dry when a promised fleet of fishing boats was cancelled – due to low tide.

The UK Independence Party had promised a fleet of fishing vessels decked out in party colours at Sunderland Fish Quay, to highlight its opposition to the EU Common Fisheries policy.

Cal Johnson (left) and Tony Shaw.

Cal Johnson (left) and Tony Shaw.

However, organisers were left red-faced after discovering the Wear was too low for the boats to take to the water.

Aileen Casey, parliamentary candidate for Washington and Sunderland West, said the party had checked earlier in the week that today’s photocall was at a suitable time.

“We were told on Monday that it would be fine, and only discovered when we got here about 11.30am that it would not be possible to get the boats into the water,” she said.

UKIP say the Common Fisheries Policy was allowing foreign fishermen to cash in on the UK’s waters. “This is our fish – why should we give it away only to have to buy it back,” Ms Casey said.

“We want to take this message as far and wide as possible – we want every inch of England that has seaside, that has anything to do with fishing, to get involved.

“We all need to shout as loud as possible to get out waters back.”

Fishermen Norman Shaw said he had witnessed the impact of EU policy on the industry.

“Twenty years ago, the trawlers on this pier would be three or four deep,” he said. “Now there are only about eight boats working off this pier.”

Yesterday’s photocall was also accompanied by an impromptu rock performance by flatmates Cal Johnson and Tony Shaw, both, 22, who live opposite the Fish Quay.

Tony admitted the pair had hoped to drown out the party’s message.

“I don’t like the things they are about,” he said.

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