Fishing families feature in photo exhibition in Parliament

A PHOTOGRAPHER’S pictures featuring fishing families in Hastings are to be shown in an upcoming exhibition in the House of Commons in London.

John Cole’s Generations, Hastings Fishing Families, is on show from Monday (January 27) to Friday, January 31 in the Upper Waiting Hall.

His series of photographs were on display at the Stade Hall in November and they are the continuation of a project he started in the 1990s.

Mr Cole said: “This is a work in progress, as I have really only scratched the surface of recording the inter-connected and overlapping generations of Hastings fishing families. I want to continue until I’ve photographed as many of the different generations of Hastings fishing families as I can – and then explore opportunities to photograph traditional fishing communities elsewhere in the UK and Europe.

“This project would not have been possible without the generous support and assistance of HFPS, Hastings FLAG and the European Fisheries Fund.”

Hastings MP Amber Rudd, who is sponsoring the exhibition, said: “The fishing industry, and the families involved with it, are incredibly important to me and to Hastings and Rye.”

Coastal fishing communities, including Hastings’, recently welcomed the Government’s support of recent EU legislation making major changes in the way fishing quotas are distributed. The under 10 metre fishing vessels, such as the Hastings’ fleet of boats, make up three quarters of the commercial fleet in the UK, but previously they have been awarded only a tiny percentage of the overall catch, meaning many struggled to make ends meet and were forced to dump fish overboard once their quotas were used up, or risk fines for over-fishing.

Paul Joy, chairman of the Hastings Fishermen’s Protection Society (HFPS) and co-chairman of the New Under Ten Fishermen’s Association (NUTFA), said: “It’s the best news we’ve had in a long time. It should put the quota in the hands of boats which will actually use it to fish – and in an environmentally friendly way.”