MP calling for a fairer deal for Rye fishing fleet

Rye Scallop Festival 2008'23/2/08''Rye Fishing Boats.
Rye Scallop Festival 2008'23/2/08''Rye Fishing Boats.

Rye MP Amber Rudd is calling for more action to support local fishermen.

Amber is pressing the Fishing Minister for a fair share of the quota for local fishermen following the first ever transfer of quota from the larger boats to the smaller ones at Rye that make up part of the under 10 metre fleet.

A High Court ruling , last year, to give smaller boats a larger share of the quota was met with cautious optimism by local fishermen, with spokesman Ronnie Simmons commenting: “It sounds like good news but we need a clearer definition of the ruling.

“We are waiting to hear more details before we comment further. They are saying we can get ten percent more but ten percent of what?”

Amber says the new reformed Common Fisheries Policy, with its emphasis on the social and environmental impact of fishing, provides a great opportunity for the Government to support the inshore fishing fleet at Rye and Hastings.

She said: “Due to their traditional methods and expertise, the local fleet is an excellent illustration of sustainable fishing.

“The fishermen and the fishing industry are hugely important to the town.”

She added: “This Government has made huge progress and now needs to address the new requirements. There is no better place to start than Rye, and the South East.

“I have been campaigning on this issue for a very long time and I have high hopes that we can find a quota allocation that works for the fish stocks and pays real dividends to the fishermen.”

Big fishing companies, known as Producer Organisations, some of which have foreign-owned vessels among their members, had been given the lion’s share of quotas before the ruling.

South East Euro MP Sharon Bowles said: “In some cases Producer Organisations have surplus quota which is leased on for a profit, while small-scale fishermen have been allocated quota as little as half a cod per day per boat. The outcome is a victory for small-scale fishermen.”