Fishermen have welcomed promises to help them survive the latest rule changes making quotas more flexible.
Fisheries minister George Eustice announced a £43million European Maritime and Fisheries Fund on Monday to help deal with the forthcoming demersal discard ban.
The ban will end the wasteful practice of throwing fish back overboard but Mr Eustice promised to allocate the first 100 tonnes of quota uplifts to the under ten metre fleet.
Fishermen will have larger quotas which can be banked, borrowed and swapped as they wish.
Alex Stanmore from the Harbour of Rye Advisory Committee (HoRAC) said: “HoRAC welcomes DEFRA’s commitment to preserve a profitable fishing industry and thriving local communities.
“We are pleased that a blanket ban has not been introduced and that there are possible exemptions for the fishermen.
“HoRAC and the Rye fishermen are seeking a meeting with DEFRA to clarify how the new rules will apply given the Rye fleet fishes across two sea area, to agree a plan to both preserve fish stocks, and to ensure an economically sustainable future for the Rye fishing fleet.”
Mr Eustice said it is essential to ban discarding fish but the government are committed to helping fishermen manage their quotas.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) published guidance on the ban to help fishermen understand it.
Hastings and Rye MP Amber Rudd said: “The sensible exemptions in the regulation are good news for our local fleets and I thank Fisheries minister George Eustice MP for delivering on the pledge he made on a visit to Hastings in February to provide an uplift in quota to smaller vessels.
“I will continue working with DEFRA and local fishermen to get the best deal possible for the local fleets.”
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