Don’t forget Hastings’ fishermen says Euro MP

SOUTH East Euro MP Sharon Bowles says that reform of EU fishing policy must take account of local fishing fleet such as that of Hastings.

Key fishing policies, including ‘catch quotas’, are currently decided in Brussels but with reform of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy on the horizon a committee of British MPs is calling on the UK Government to fight for more decision-making powers.

However, while a report by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, published last week, accused Brussels of ‘micro-management’ little has been done about unfair quota allocation in the UK.

Sharon Bowles said: “The UK Government often allocates its share of EU fishing quota to large companies, known as ‘producer organisations’, leaving local fishermen with little or no quota of fish to catch.

“It is one thing to argue for a repatriation of fishing powers but MPs must also fight for quotas to be divvied up fairly so that local fishermen get their fair cut of the pie.

“Having met with local fishermen in Hastings, I have seen first-hand how top-down decision-making by both the EU and the UK Government has affected their livelihood.

“At this time of economic hardship we should be doing what we can to preserve and encourage sustainable inshore fishing, not contributing to its demise.”