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MEP ramps up pressure on UK Government over fishing quotas

April 15, 2009

rye-fishermens-associationLiberal Democrat MEP for the South East, Sharon Bowles, has joined forces with local fishermen to get the Government to honour a recent change in quota percentages, which would have given a fairer deal to fishermen in the under-10 metre sector.

Speaking after meetings on Thursday with representatives from the Rye Fishermen’s Association, and Hastings Fishermen’s Protection Society, Sharon said,

“I will be writing to the Fisheries Minister to raise my own objection to the U-turn the Government appears to have made, after initially promising an acceptable settlement in respect of the quota for the newly designated fisheries area in the Channel. I am appalled that after what seems to have been strong lobbying from the producer organisations, the UK Government has capitulated to strong commercial interests, and sold our under 10 metre sector down the river.

“This is serious. This is people’s livelihoods and families at stake,” she said.

Ms Bowles added, “I am also asking the European Commissioner for Competition, Neelie Kroes, to look into the situation, as I am concerned that our local fishermen may not have been given a fair opportunity to form producer organisations of their own.”

Local parliamentary campaigner Nick Perry said, “These were crucial meetings. We heard from the experts just how close they are from being driven out of business altogether. We are rightly proud of our fishing industry in 1066 Country. Liberal Democrats will do all that we can to highlight the plight of our fishermen, and just how badly they are being treated by the UK Government.”

Stuart Murphy, Lib Dem candidate for the Old Hastings & Tressell County Council division said, “It is a national disgrace that the under-10 metre sector has been allowed to decline in this way.”

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