Rishi Sunak Visits Old-Leigh

January 17, 2024

The Rt Hon Rishi Sunak made a whistle stop tour of the Old town of Leigh-on-sea on Monday morning accompanied by Anna Firth local Southend MP to meet local businesses, fisherman and local residents with a visit also to the Osborne's Fisheries Processing Factory.

Speaking with local people and pupils from Southend High School for Boys, discussions took place on the situation of stopping illegal migrant crossings and the effectiveness of deterrents. Mr Sunak said that it would take some time to pass the new Rwanda legislation through Parliament.

Both Mr Sunak and Anna met with journalists at the Boatyard Restaurant and discussed how to help the fishing industry which has been “left behind” for a number of years, he said that he would be speaking with DEFRA on this subject very soon.

Mr Sunak was updated on the very recent discovery of 2 species of rare clams in the Thames Estuary. Mr Gilson a local retired fisherman and president of the National Federation of Fisheries spoke on how the razor claims only naturally grow to 4.5 inches but EU law prevents fishing razor claims under 5 inches so fishing for these is still impossible.

Discussions also took place on the clams question and on how financial support could be provided by the government and how DEFRA could help. Fishing for clams would be a boost for the local fishing industry so claims are now very important. Mr Gilson also spoke about the development by the Dutch of a new dredger which was very environmentally friendly and if deployed would make fishing in the Thames Estuary more sustainable. He also mentioned that the effects of climate change and the physical effort of traditionally fishing for Dover sole had disappeared from Mersea and Whitstable with both towns’ now needing help to boost their fishing industry.


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