Hastings fishermen welcome quota promises

Amber Rudd MP and Fisheries minister George Eustice meeting fishermen in Hastings in February.
Amber Rudd MP and Fisheries minister George Eustice meeting fishermen in Hastings in February.

Fishermen have welcomed promises to help them survive the latest rule changes making quotas more flexible.

Fisheries minister George Eustice announced a £43million European Maritime and Fisheries Fund on Monday to help deal with the forthcoming demersal discard ban.

The ban will end the wasteful practice of throwing fish back overboard but Mr Eustice promised to allocate the first 100 tonnes of quota uplifts to the under ten metre fleet.

Fishermen will have larger quotas which can be banked, borrowed and swapped as they wish.

“If we want a profitable fishing industry and thriving coastal communities in the future it is vital that we fish sustainably today,” he said.

“That is why the reforms we have secured to the Common Fisheries Policy, which will put an end to the shameful practice of throwing perfectly good fish overboard, are so important.

“It is essential that we ban the practice of discarding fish, but we are also committed to introducing new flexibilities to help fishermen manage their quotas and will be giving more quota to the under 10 metre fleet.”

The New Under Ten Fishermen’s Association (NUTFA) represents smaller fishing fleets and is based in Hastings.

Jerry Percy from NUTFA said the promises gives cause for hope.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) published guidance on the ban to help fishermen understand it.

Hastings and Rye MP Amber Rudd said: “The sensible exemptions in the regulation are good news for our local fleets and I thank Fisheries minister George Eustice MP for delivering on the pledge he made on a visit to Hastings in February to provide an uplift in quota to smaller vessels.

“I will continue working with DEFRA and local fishermen to get the best deal possible for the local fleets.”

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