Cash incentive for struggling fishermen

STRUGGLING fishermen in Suffolk are being given a financial incentive to scrap their boats and find a new career or retire early.

Richard Smith

STRUGGLING fishermen in Suffolk are being given a financial incentive to scrap their boats and find a new career or retire early.

The Government has a £5million pot of money available to pay inshore fishermen to leave the industry.

The aim, said Fisheries Minister Huw Irranca-Davies, is to protect the livelihoods of remaining fishermen by ensuring that the fish quotas are distributed among a smaller number of people.


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Fishermen in the county are now waiting to be given further details of the scheme and to discover if they are eligible to bid for a share of the £5m to decommission their vessels and release their share of the quota to others.

Neil Macro, an Orford-based fisherman who has fished for nearly 40 years, said eligibility for the scheme depended on the horsepower of the boat and the length of the boat.

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He said: ''I do not really want to come out of fishing. I have been in fishing all my life and I enjoy doing it, I do not really want to retire.

''I want to keep on working but the scheme is good for the people who think they have had enough of fishing and want to pack it in.

''I think that those who are left in fishing are those that enjoy fishing, it is their way of life, and I do not think many would take the decision to decommission their boat.''

Fishermen are currently awaiting a decision on the quotas for next year. The cod quota has, said Mr Macro, been 50kg a month since June which was too little.

Mr Macro said: ''I did buy a skate quota and I have been fishing for skate, but unfortunately there is not a lot of skate in the area this year so I have only been out twice a week. I have caught about a ton of skate in five weeks which is not much.

''We are really hanging fire to see what quota we get for January and then hopefully we can make some sort of plans for the future.''

His fishing boat is eight metres and Mr Macro said he understood the boats eligible for decommissioning were vessels just under 10 metres.

The National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations said it had no problem with the voluntary scheme to scrap boats.

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