A national fishing day of protest has seen fishermen around the UK take to the water but in Bideford the protest had to be on dry land because there are no trawlers left in Torridge. Vote Leave was the rally cry as the fishing industry came out in force to call for Brexit in advance of next Thursdays referendum on June 23. Dozens of boats at South West ports flew Fishing for Leave flags, while a flotilla of more than 60 vessels sailed up the Thames to Westminster. But the last trawler left Bideford and Appledore a few weeks ago, leaving the Ilfracombe boats as the only trawlers in North Devon and they are frequently forced to fish the south coast to make a living. Recent restrictions on landing ray saw Bidefords Steve and Peter Taylor forced to sell their boats Ann Louise and Hannah Marie after 30 years in the industry. One of them went to Norway, a country thats not in the EU and its fishing industry is thriving, said Steve. There have been trawlers here for hundreds of years. But the EU decided to put the ray in the Bristol Channel on a strict quota. That was our main catch, we have been living virtually on that for the last 30 years and theres an abundance of ray out there. We have a lot of foreign vessels landing hundreds of tonnes of ray a week but my two little boats had to be stopped, yet the EU boats could carry on filling up. Bob Gotts, former chairman of North Devon Fishermens Association said they wanted to claim back UK waters for the countrys own fishermen. When we get a yes result, what the government should do is claim back our territorial waters out to 12 miles, he said. Out of the EU we could start rebuilding our fishing industry in North Devon, but as its stands if we stay in its totally finished. UKIP chairman Steve Crowther added: The demise of this 1000-year-old fishing fleet just goes to show that we cant shilly shally around talking of reforming the EU. We must get out and get clear fast, before it does any more damage.Return to our home page for more North Devon news stories.