By Anthony carroll
Thursday, February 7, 2013
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.