Anger over fish quota of foreign fleet linked to Lowestoft

PUBLISHED: 08:51 07 February 2013 | UPDATED: 08:51 07 February 2013

Lowestoft fisherman Melvin Robinson.
Photo: Andy Darnell
Copy: Chris Hill
For: EDP
Archant © 2007 (01603) 772434

Lowestoft fisherman Melvin Robinson. Photo: Andy Darnell Copy: Chris Hill For: EDP Archant © 2007 (01603) 772434

Archant © 2007

Action has been demanded over the way that Dutch-controlled trawlers are allowed to use up British fishing quotas under the auspices of a Lowestoft-based organisation.

A report by Greenpeace says the Lowestoft Fish Producers’ Organisation has eight large trawlers that are controlled by Dutch fishing interests which have access to British EU fishing quotas through the north Suffolk-based group.

Because of the perfectly legal arrangement it is claimed the Lowestoft organisation is allowing up to 6,000 tonnes of fish a year to be caught by the Dutch – at the same time as Lowestoft’s fleet of small fishing vessels is struggling to survive.

Melvin Robinson of the Anglia Fishermen’s Association said there are eight fishing boats of less than 10m at Lowestoft and four at Southwold.

They are part of a national fleet of just under 1,000 small fishing boats which receive only 4pc of fish quotas even though they make up about 85pc of the nation’s overall fleet.

Responding to Greenpeace’s A Wolf in Shrimp’s Clothing report Mr Robinson said: “They [the trawlers] are Dutch owned and yet they are allowed to take English fish quotas.

“Every year the quotas give the Lowestoft Fish Producer’s Organisation 6,000 tonnes to fish when the quotas should be for British fishermen.”

EU fish quotas are administered by Defra, which is leading a campaign to reform them to help the nation’s fishermen by banning discards from vessels as early as next year following a vote in the EU Parliament yesterday to reform the Common Fisheries Policy.

A Defra spokesman said it was now compiling a list of where UK quotas are held and this should be published by the end of 2013.

Barrie Deas, the chief executive of the National Federation of Fisherman’s Organisation, which represents the Lowestoft group, said the Dutch arrangement was between eight and 10 years old and the deal gave £500,000 of quotas to Lowestoft’s small fishing fleet every year.

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  • There seems to be some discrepancy between the numbers of under-10 vessels at Lowestoft and Southwold (8 and 4 respectively) as given by Mr. Robinson, and those listed at at 1st February 2013 on the UK Marine Management Organisation (a government body) United Kingdom Fishing Vessel List. This shows 30 registered and licensed Under-10s with a "Home Port" of Lowestoft. Southwold "Home Port" shows 17 such vessels. I know that several are not very active, but they are nonetheless eligible commercial fishing vessels, and all could in theory be hammering away at the fisheries. It doesn't help the British case to be inaccurate with the figures, and the ones I have given are the bona fide official numbers for the two ports. I still think we should get out of the EU and regain our fisheries and control over them; which is why I voted against staying in the Common Market in 1975. It was pretty obvious even in 1973 when Tory Ted Heath conned us into the Common Market, that fisheries and fishermen were just disposable bargaining chips.

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    T Doff

    Thursday, February 7, 2013

  • If this happened in France, the local fishermen would block ports or even sink the Dutch vessels until this wrong was corrected. At present I'm really struggling to see any real benefits for the British public from continuing membership of the failed EU club.

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    Friday, February 8, 2013

  • Why does the British fish markets boycot the Dutsch trawlers if the want to land fish in UK they have to be British registered and and abide by the quotas and have a office fully staffed in UK at the fis landing port the wish to land their fish at or operate from

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    Thursday, February 7, 2013

  • Successive British governments have let a similar arrangement exist for many years and have done very little to sort this injustice out. Despite all the talk, the EU is our ruler and we are really powerless to make any real changes. It seems the UK fishermen, what is left of them, subsidise the big Dutch and other EU countries trawlers with the quota and nothing is ever done about it. It is common to see foreign (EU) owned trawlers with British registrations, they have legally taken over British fishing interests, and we are unable to stop it.

    Report this comment

    Port Watcher

    Thursday, February 7, 2013

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