Mike Walker, a retired fisherman here, sums up what many in this southern English port town think of the European Union.

Britain’s membership in the 28-nation union has encouraged France, Spain, the Netherlands and “the rest of them lot” to “come rape our waters,” Mr. Walker said.

Others here might use less extreme language. But Mr. Walker’s opinion resonates in this town of 17,000. And it signals a wider British discomfort with the European Union before the country votes in a June 23 referendum on whether to quit the union.

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