Celeb chef backs Hastings fishermen’s call for fairer deal

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall on Hastings beach
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall on Hastings beach

A CELEBRITY chef has backed calls for a fairer deal for fishermen here in Hastings.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall visited 1066 Country to meet with some of the locals whose livelihoods have been threatened by EU quotas which see the lion’s share of the fish stocks go to the larger, over 10 metre boats.

He spent the day with Paul Joy, of the Hastings Fishermen’s Protection Society, who explained how the Hastings fleet was forced to throw back dead fish into the sea rather than run the risk of huge fines for breaking quotas.

And during his trip, Fearnley-Whittingstall, enjoyed a jaunt out to sea on one of the local boats.

Upon their return to shore, the crew symbolically threw eight box loads of dead fish overboard but onto the shore to highlight to passers-by just how wasteful the rules forced them to be.

And Mr Joy then shocked his guest more by revealing local boats probably disposed of 10 times that figure each day.

Fearnley-Whittingstall was in town filming for his Channel 4 series Hugh’s Fish Fight and, having been alarmed at the situation here in Hastings, he promised to do all he could to help.

He said: “There must be a better way to conserve fish stocks than throwing away hundreds of tonnes. The campaign starts today.

“We want to make people upset and put pressure on politicians.”

The documentary, which was aired on Tuesday night, went down well with locals.

Discussing the show on Facebook group Hastings & St Leonards, Andre Lawson said: “It is disgusting what is having to be thrown back dead.

“How is that helping conserve fish stocks? They can’t breed once they are dead.”

Fellow Facebooker and fishermen fan Dylan Thomas added: “We are glad Hugh brought this to national attention – but enraged by the criminal waste of edible fish. Something must be done.”