Support for fishing grant by south east MEP

South east Labour MEP Anneliese Dodds (far right) at Hastings Herring Fair with Hastings Borough Council leader Peter Chowney and Cllr Emily Westley
South east Labour MEP Anneliese Dodds (far right) at Hastings Herring Fair with Hastings Borough Council leader Peter Chowney and Cllr Emily Westley

A new EU grant that helps fishermen affected by recent tightening of fishing laws is supported by a south east MEP.

The European Maritime and Fisheries Fund is for fishermen struggling with measures including the emergency sea bass ban and it opens for applications today (Tuesday, January 19).

Fishermen in Hastings and Rye have said that new EU laws will close the fisheries but Labour MEP Anneliese Dodds welcomed the grant scheme.

“It is essential that those involved in the fishing industry in Hastings know of the resources available to them through the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, and that we get our fair share of these funds,” she said.

“As the Labour MEP for the south east I’m keen to ensure people are aware of the funding opportunities available to them from the EU.

“In addition, I’ve been working with colleagues to make sure that our fishing industry is protected, including urging the UK government and others to take a more long-term approach to issues like sea bass shortages, to avoid the kind of ‘stop-start’ approach we’ve had recently.

“It’s good that quotas have been increased for species such as English Channel plaice, but ultimately we need to make sure we have a longer-term plan for all those species which the south East fishing industry relies on”.

The emergency ban on sea bass means none can be caught until June with a limit of one tonne per month afterwards for commercial fishermen.

Anglers will be limited to one sea bass per month.

The EU also introduced a discard ban this month which means fishermen cannot throw fish back into the sea and must bring back everything they catch.

Hastings Fishermen’s Society chairman Paul Joy said that if cod becomes one of the fish with limitations on how much can be caught, the resulting penalties will close the fishery.

And anglers like Hastings Angling Centre director Martyn Kemp were furious about the ban and described it as a ‘travesty’ for the industry.

Ms Dodds also wants the UK government to develop a long-term approach to improved sea bass shortages to protect the interests

Hastings and Rye MP Amber Rudd supported the ban and the grant scheme when it was announced in October.

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