Hastings fishermen say a new fishing quota deal agreed in Brussels this week is not cause to celebrate.
The deal, agreed by ministers on December 16, will see the quota for cod increased in some areas but reduced for other species. South East MEP Catherine Bearder says fishing quotas are being reduced in line with scientific evidence in order to rebuild fish stocks and that the new deal will lead to more sustainable fishing in Hastings.
However, Paul Joy, chairman of Hastings Fishermen’s Protection Society says it’s not good enough. “Unfortunately, yet again we see more drastic cuts in our sole fishing quota of 26 per cent with no scientific reason.
“But this year’s focus should be less about quota the country receives from Europe, but more who has the right to fish.
“As in the past, quota has been always been given to the over 10 metre boats leaving sustainable fishing fleets like Hastings fleet starving for fishing quota.
“There is now a legal requirement under European law to allocate quota on the basis of social economic and environmental criteria - we are still waiting for this to happen.
“So in consequence the annual fight for quota rights in Europe comes down to the way England shares the quota out, 86 per cent of the fleet which is under 10 metre get four per cent of the quota nationally. This must change for us to celebrate.”