A Brexit MEP has been sharply criticized after calling for foreign fishing boats to receive the same treatment as the Belgrano, the Argentinian cruiser sunk by the Royal Navy after hundreds of people were killed.

Robert Rowland, a hedge fund manager, made the remark in a tweet about "the restoration of sovereignty over our waters" on the occasion of the celebration of MEP June Mummery in the Parliament's fisheries committee European.

He wrote, "We are behind all our fishermen [sic] and the restoration of sovereignty over our waters. 200 miles from exclusion zone, any foreign fishing boat benefiting from the same treatment as Belgrano! Well done June. We are 110% behind you and we will ensure that you give the best of themselves in committee. "

Robert Rowland
(@RowlandBrexitSE)

We are behind all our fishermen and the restoration of sovereignty over our waters. 200 miles from exclusion zone, any foreign fishing boat benefiting from the same treatment as Belgrano! Well done June. We are 110% behind you and we will ensure that you give your chance to the committee. https://t.co/HqdgHTPM5W


July 10, 2019

Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies, who was elected this week as chair of the fisheries committee, described the remarks as perverse. "It's a call to death, it's a call to fishermen from another country who die in our waters. It's bad. It makes me sick in the stomach.

"Is this the kind of country these people want? Where we kill fishermen who do nothing more than they have been doing for hundreds of years. "

The sinking of General Belgrano in 1982 was one of the most controversial episodes of the Falklands War. It resulted in the death of 323 Argentine sailors.

Barrie Deas, Executive Director of the National Association of Fishermen's Associations, said that "abusive language" was not helpful.

After the Brexit, he said, "we expected non-British fishing vessels to operate in British waters, but under conditions determined by the UK, like any other independent coastal state. The model would be Norway. The EU has had a relationship with Norway for 40 years, where stocks are managed jointly. Quota shares, which are very important, are agreed each year. It's a bit like a wedding, there are ups and downs, but every year there is an agreement.

Rowland is a director of Bowden Capital Limited, a hedge fund registered in 2014. His tenure as a European deputy began last week as one of 29 Brexit MEPs led by Nigel Farage, who offended by turning his back on to an Ode to Joy performance at the opening ceremony of Parliament.

A spokesman for Farage declined to comment on Belgrano's remarks.

Contacted by the Guardian, Rowland said, "It was an ironic comment. A bit of bravery made in solidarity with the Brexit MEP, June Mummery, who had just been physically led by a Liberation MEP for defending British fishermen. "

Mummery said on Twitter that Davies had "stuck his face aggressively to mine" and told him that British waters belonged to the EU, following a meeting of the fisheries committee.

Davies, one of the two UK MEPs elected to head influential parliamentary committees this week, said she was lying: "I do not know what she's talking about." Mummery was presented at the end of the meeting, before "haranguing". him in a hallway, he said. "There were people around me and some witnesses said that his story was inaccurate."

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