Hundreds back our fish quota campaign

Paul Joy and Maggie Banfield hold out an Observer fish quota campaign poster
Paul Joy and Maggie Banfield hold out an Observer fish quota campaign poster

HUNDREDS more readers have backed out quota campaign - with giant schools of cut-out fish arriving at the Observer each morning.

The total number of fish petitions as of Thursday morning was just under 700 - with more turning up each day.

That figure has been boosted by one Old Town fish fan who has been handing out the Observer fish to customers.

Maggie Banfield runs the popular Maggie’s Fishmarket Cafe on Rock-a-Nore and has done for the last 18 years.

And being at the heart of the fishing quarter, she has seen first hand the impact of crippling quotas on the local fleet.

“It is a disgrace the conditions the fishermen have to work in,” she said. “A lot of them come in here to eat so I have got to know them well.

“The fact that they are forced to throw dead fish back into the sea is such a terrible waste.

“You wouldn’t shoot a cow and leave it to rot in a field - so why are fishermen expected to catch fish and toss them back?

“I think it is a great that someone is doing something positive to help.

“The Observer’s campaign has gone down well with my customers - signing a fish takes two seconds and I would say most people who come here pick one up.

“Other cafes in the town should definitely get involved.

“The fishermen are a key part of this town’s heritage as well as an excellent source of freshly caught fish.

“I would encourage everyone to sign a fish and show their support for the fishermen.”

There was more good news this week as Hastings MP Amber Rudd confirmed that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) will launch an inquiry into the way fishing quotas are implemented and in particular the effect the system has on smaller boats like those found locally.

Ms Rudd sits on the DEFRA select committee and pushed to make sure the investigation took place.

She said: “ We have known in Hastings and Rye about the injustices towards the smaller fishermen but this inquiry will help to raise the national awareness of the problem and lead, I believe to change.

“It follows on from Channel 4’s Fish Fight Campaign and the Observer getting behind the push for change.”

To join the fight fill in your fish on page 43 and send it back to the Observer.

Above is the Fishometer which is measuring the number of fish returns in support on the Observer quota campaign.

Pictured, left: Paul Joy and Maggie Banfield hold out an Observer fish quota campaign poster.