Rye MP, Amber Rudd, fights for fishing fleet.

A POLICY which is scuppering Rye’s fishing industry should be torn-up and re-written says MP Amber Rudd,

Rye’s fishermen are struggling to make a living due to crippling quotas which affect the under ten metre boats that make up the local fishing fleet.

The Common Fisheries Policy has failed to conserve fish stocks and failed fishermen and consumers says Amber.

She is welcoming the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee’s proposals for reform of the policy.

In a recent parliamentary speech Amber called on the Government to use the current round of Common Fisheries Policy reform to argue for a reduction in micro-management from Brussels, greater devolution of fishing policy to member states, the introduction of greater regional ecosystem-based management and more scientific research to underpin decision-making in order to secure the future of coastal communities and the health of the marine ecosystem.

In her speech, Amber asked: “Why can we not have a fisheries policy that supports fishing communities?

“Our current policy has failed. Communities find themselves diminished, and the discards continue.”

“It is crucial that my residents in Rye know that this issue is taken seriously.”

Amber warned the Minister of “fishing reform fatigue”, which the previous Government experienced, and urged him to “keep up the energy and enthusiasm, so that we can get the reforms that this country so badly needs.”

But Sussex Euro MP Sharon Bowles has warned that a Government pilot scheme will not solve plight of local fishermen.

The scheme allows some inshore fishermen to catch their allocated quota of fish when they want, instead of the current prescriptive timetable.

Catch quotas are designated as daily amounts of fish which can be caught. However, some catch quotas are as low as half a cod per day for smaller boats

Speaking about the Government scheme, which started this Tuesday, she 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.”