Warning over fishing bans

A TOTAL ban on fishing cod, haddock and whiting for a year could drive fishermen out of business Felixstowe longshoremen warned today.Livelihoods would be destroyed if the European Commission's proposals are given the go ahead as the already struggling fishermen's main source of income, which is from sales of cod, would be taken away.

A TOTAL ban on fishing cod, haddock and whiting for a year could drive fishermen out of business Felixstowe longshoremen warned today.

Livelihoods would be destroyed if the European Commission's proposals are given the go ahead as the already struggling fishermen's main source of income, which is from sales of cod, would be taken away.

Some of those working at Felixstowe Ferry support a ban but believe the proposals have come too late.

Alan Crawford, who owns three boats and the fish shop, The Shed at the Ferry, said he was not even breaking even and so as cod was the main type of fish he catches in the winter months, his family business would be destroyed.


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"Cod is our main fish, it's what we fish for. If we did not have this place we would not survive at all," said Mr Crawford referring to his fish shop where he sells all the fish he catches. "We can't survive with the markets, we can't afford to run the lorries. I'm selling fish for below cost price.

"All I know is fishing, and that's all I have ever done - as a boy after the war we could catch fish like anything."

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James White, another fisherman who could lose his job if the ban was put in place, said: "It would probably do us in if there was a ban on cod, with us there isn't another - since cod is it.

"I think a ban is needed but I think it has to be controlled in the right way. I think they have got to find the source of the problem before they start banning.

"They're jumping in to it too quickly, what they have got to realise is that little boats aren't doing the damage. I don't expect the dopey government to do anything. They should have put a ban on it 30 years ago."

Duncan Read, assistant harbour master and a fisherman who bought his first boat in 1967, said: "A year is not enough, five that's as long as it takes for cod to grow.

"It is not the little boats, all we get is a living. When I was a boy we put cod on the market and sometimes it wouldn't be sold because there was so much of it but that hasn't happened for at least 35 years."

Nationally Barrie Dean, chief executive of the National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations told the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee in the House of Commons that there was "no possibility of surviving if we are simply told to tie up for a year."

His comments follow an admission in Brussels by the European Commission that it is facing its gravest fishing crisis to date and has little choice but to call for a total fishing ban.

EU Fisheries Commissioner Franz Fischler said it had to be recognised that the state of fishing stocks had never been worse and white fish were now on the verge of collapse. Scientists believe only a total ban on cod catches can stave off extinction.

But Mr Dean said that for fishermen "fear of collapse of cod is nothing compared with the effect of the Commission proposal".

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