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MEP invites Fisheries Commissioner to Hastings

March 31, 2010 12:02 PM

Euro MP Catherine Bearder has invited the Fisheries Commissioner to visit Hastings to see firsthand the damage caused to fishing communities by the UK's disproportionate quota system.

At a meeting in the European Parliament, Catherine told the new Commissioner about the problems faced by the South East's fishing fleet and the communities that support them. About 93% of the South East's fishing industry is made up of boats less than ten meters in length, and about 83% of our fishermen work out of these boats. However, the British government assigned only 3% of the quota to small boats (under ten meters) and the rest to large boats under the Producer Organisations.

The Commissioner committed to developing a sustainable policy for small scale fishing fleets and promised to consult with stakeholders on reforms to the Common Fisheries Policy.

Catherine said, "I asked the Commissioner how she intends to protect the future of small boat fishing fleets and the communities that depend on them, and I was pleased she realised how important this issue is for South East England."

"Local fishermen in small boats fish in a far more sustainable manner and are more likely to support their local communities than big producer organisations."

"It's not just the fishermen that struggle under these absurd quotas. The impact is felt by the local communities that depend on the fishing industry: by local food suppliers, the trades and professions that service the fleets, and the tourist industries that depend on these traditional ways of life."

"The social and economic well being of fishing communities must be intrinsic to reform of the Common Fisheries Policy."

"Our fishermen must be consulted and involved in the reforms of the Common Fisheries Policy because they're the ones that have to live with it after politicians have gone home."

"I've invited Commissioner to visit our fishing communities on the South Coast so she can see for herself the damage being done under the current system."