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“Government pilot scheme will not solve plight of local fishermen” says Sharon Bowles MEP

April 18, 2012 12:17 PM

A Government pilot scheme allowing some inshore fishermen to catch their allocated quota of fish when they want, instead of the current prescriptive timetable, will not solve the plight of local fishermen says South East Euro MP Sharon Bowles.

Catch quotas are designated as daily amounts of fish which can be caught. However, with some catch quotas as low as half a cod per day for smaller boats, local fishermen are struggling to make a living.

Speaking about the Government's new pilot scheme, which starts on May 1st, Sharon Bowles MEP said:

"The pilot scheme will allow some local fishermen to catch their quota of fish in one go instead of half a fish at a time, which allows for seasonal fishing, but the overall amount of fish they can catch each year will not go up.

"The EU's Common Fisheries Policy is not the problem here. The problem is that the Government allocates much of the UK's catch quota to big fishing companies, known as 'producer organisations', while local fishermen are given next to nothing.

"While the issue of discards - the practice of throwing 'surplus' fish dead overboard - has made a splash in the media, local fishermen are still suffering because they can't catch enough fish to make a proper living.

"The fair allocation of catch quota between big fishing companies and inshore fishermen should be the Government's priority."

ENDS