Fishermen vindicated by report

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A GOVERNMENT report published this week calls for drastic changes to protect the livelihood of Rye fishermen.

The Select Committee of Environmnet Food and Rural Affairs has slammed DEFRA’s quota system as being unfair to smaller boats like those operating out of Rye.

The report has been welcomed by Rye MP Amber Rudd who said: “We have to get these reforms right and we are going to make sure that DEFRA make the right changes to support our fishing communities.”

Anne McIntosh, who chairs the Select Committee, said: “The distribution of quota to smaller fishing boats, under ten metres, was of particular concern to us.

“If the Government accepts our recommendations the under ten metre fleet would have more opportunities to acquire fishing quota, providing a life-line for those fishing communities most vulnerable to the current rules.”

The committee has also called for end to the practice of throwing unwanted dead fish back in the sea.

Miss McIntosh said: “Discarding is waste of natural resources and we are united in wanting to see an end to this unsustainable practice.”

She added: “We were shocked to discover DEFRA does not monitor who currently holds quota in England. This means we don’t know how much quota is held by organisations that have little or no connection to the fishing industry and who merely trade it as a commodity.

“Our report recommends that quota should only be held by working fishermen.”