Rye Observer Comment: Radical changes are needed to save fishing industry

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EVERYONE would agree that it makes good sense to scrap the absurd rule which forces fishermen to throw dead fish back in the sea, but the proposed EU ban on discards should not be seen as a victory for our fishermen.

The fishermen are very clear on this saying that much more needs to be done to protect their livelihoods - this really is just a drop in the ocean.

Fishermen feel too that the discards policy will only be replaced by another crippling rule which will limit their days at sea or what they can catch.

The only thing that will really make a difference is a clear change to the unfair quota policy which sees large production companies getting the lion’s share and being allocated quota that they don’t even need or use while the smaller boats get thrown the scraps.

Rye is a port town and fishing has always been integral to the local economy and the very fabric of the place.

The local fishing industry plays a vital role in establishing Rye on the nation’s culinary map.

The annual Rye Bay Scallop Festival and Taste of Rye Festival, which bring so much media attention to the town, would struggle to exist if it were not for the freshly caught fish and seafood and the short journey it makes from boat to plate.

Banning discards is a start but we need real radical changes to safeguard this much needed industry and those who depend on it for their living.

We will play our part by continuing to keep this important issue in the news to ensure that our fishermen and their situation is not overlooked.