Fishermen in protest against quotas

FISHERMEN from Felixstowe Ferry took part in a major demonstration to protest against the small catch quotas which they claim are threatening their livelihoods.

By Richard Cornwell

FISHERMEN from Felixstowe Ferry took part in a major demonstration to protest against the small catch quotas which they claim are threatening their livelihoods.

Three trawlers from the fishing hamlet joined 50 other inshore boats from the east coast to sail up the River Thames into the heart of London to make their point against the EU's Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), which they claim is putting hundreds of fishermen out of work.

They met MPs, MEPs and union officials at Parliament to voice their concerns over what they claim is unfair and small quotas while huge foreign vessels are overfishing UK inshore grounds.

Helen Butcher, who with her husband John, of Mill Lane, Trimley St Martin, has fished the Orwell and Stour rivers for 35 years, said the Felixstowe Ferry trawlermen had been determined to support the protest.

Mrs Butcher of the Felixstowe Ferry Fisherman's Association said: “It was about an 18-hour trip and they really wanted to be a part of it to make their point.

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“These quotas are crippling the fishermen and threatening their livelihoods.

“It has never been this bad and the restrictions are just too great. We will lose more and more of our crews unless the government does something to have the quotas changed.”

The smaller trawlers say the rules are geared to help the massive commercial trawlers which catch huge amounts of whitefish and penalise the independent under 10-metre boats.

Defra said the primary aim of the CFP was to ensure rational and sustainable exploitation of fish stocks through conservation and management policies. Fish quotas are set to help achieve these objectives.

Are you a fisherman - let us have your views on the quotas. Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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