The EU referendum campaign has taken to Britain's waterways as a pro-Leave flotilla was intercepted by Remain supporting boats during a protest on the Thames river on 15 June. The Fishing for Leave campaign, made up of more than 30 vessels, had planned to sail up the famous London river to demonstrate outside the Houses of Parliament during Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs).
Ukip leader Nigel Farage was aboard one of the Brexit boats, while musician Sir Bob Geldof reportedly showed his support for Remain on one of the pro-EU vessels. "The governing principle of the common fisheries policy is that of 'equal access to a common resource,'" Farage said.
"Fish stock that should be within the UK's internationally recognised territorial waters are now shared by our European Partners. This has led to a 60% drop in oversized landings and the loss of tens of thousands of jobs in our industry.
"There are now many harbours without a single commercial vessel, not satisfied with that the EU is now regulating our recreational sea anglers.
"Under an EU regulation issued in December no Anglers may take a single bass for tea. This is now leading to a loss of jobs in our charter angling fleet."
A spokesman for Fishing for Leave stressed that the protest was not just about the industry. "The wider context is to say – look, this is what is happening to us, we are a good example to everybody else, we have a great country, let's get out and flourish," he told IBTimes UK.
But Labour's shadow environment secretary warned that a Brexit could severely impact the UK's fishing industry. "Our EU membership provides access to Europe's fishing waters worth £100m to the UK and British fishing boats are able to land and sell their catch in any EU country," said Kerry McCarthy MP.
"If we left the EU we would still want to trade with EU countries, negotiate access and quotas outside our own territory and share fishing rights for UK waters. Rather than risking the uncertainty that a vote to leave would cause, I believe the answer is to stay in the EU and fight for reform."
The Brexit flotilla stunt comes with just eight day to go until the 23 June referendum, with the latest opinion poll putting the race almost neck-and-neck. The online ComRes survey for The Sun, of more than 1,000 people between 9 and 13 June, put Remain on 46% (-6) and Leave on 45% (+4), with 9% of respondents undecided.