Fishermen's anger over quota

FISHERMEN along Suffolk's coast said today they may not set out to sea again this year because new fish quotas mean they may not make a living.

FISHERMEN along Suffolk's coast said today they may not set out to sea again this year because new fish quotas mean they may not make a living.

Crew are furious at the latest quotas they have been given claiming that those with boats under ten metres cannot make a living from the amounts they are permitted to catch in the next few months.

The 15 crews between Felixstowe Ferry and Southwold say they are being unfairly penalised - and the centuries-old right of man to fish the sea is being taken away.

James White and James Keen, who fish on the Krystal Kay out of Felixstowe Ferry, are among the crews - some of which are thinking of packing up for the winter and finding other work - hit hard by the new government-issued quotas.


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Mr White said: “At the moment we are permitted to catch 50kg of cod a month and 250kg of Dover sole, and banned from catching skate.

“That amount of cod would bring us in about £80 and yet we would spend £1,500 on diesel just going out to catch it.

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“It is ridiculous.

“There is no way we can make a living with these small quotas.

“Sometimes when we are out at sea we find Dutch and Belgian trawlers fishing alongside us and they take as much as they want and no-one is stopping them!

“But we have to stick to these tiny quotas. Man has always had a right to fish in the sea to support his family and community and now this is being taken away.”

While some Suffolk crews are currently allowed much larger quotas as part of a scientific research project, the smaller boats' face hardship - and yet their work has little impact on fish stocks.

Mr White said: “There are tons of cod out there - people will tell you there is more cod now than for 30 or 40 years.”

Defra said: “The UK quota management system seeks to ensure that these quotas are shared fairly amongst the UK fishing industry and also so that fishing activity in the UK is managed such that these quotas are not exceeded.”

The primary aim is to ensure sustainable fish stocks through conservation and management policies designed to protect resources and reflect the needs of the fishing industry. UK fishing quotas are allocated by Fisheries Ministers on the basis of individual fishing vessel licences.

Should fishermen be restricted in how much they can catch? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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