October 21 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Fishermen in Suffolk have welcomed an EU agreement with Norway over North Sea catch quotas, which has seen a long-awaited increase to the levels of cod they can take ashore.
The agreement, which comes after three months of delays, has seen total allowable catches of cod rise by 5% in response to growing stock in the North Sea’s Norwegian zone.
Dean Fryer, director at Aldeburgh Fishemen’s Association, said the announcement was “good news” for the industry in East Anglia.
“The winter cod was nothing special this year but the spring run started two weeks ago and is looking good so far – with this cod quota it’ll help even more,” he said.
Catch quotas for other fish including haddock and whiting, have been reduced as part of the agreement, however Mr Fryer said those restrictions would be unlikely to affect his colleagues on the Suffolk coast.
The National Federation of Fishermen’s Associations has also welcomed the agreement, although it warned of “serious economic difficulties” posed by the delays and “highly convoluted” negotiations.
Stuart Agnew, a UKIP MEP for the east of England who sits on the European Parliament’s fisheries committee, has also criticised the decision making process.
“The small increase in cod quota and the larger increase in plaice quota are welcome news for struggling East Anglian fishermen but the very serious decline in the industry, over so many years, because of the failings of the EU’s quota system, will need a great deal more of this medicine, if the patient is to be saved,” he added.
“As an independent nation, the UK would be free to manage its own fishing waters, keep EU fishing fleets out of them and to negotiate its own deals with countries like Norway and the Faroe Islands.”