CALL TO SAVE FISHERIES ON SOUTH AND EAST COAST OF ENGLAND
Call to save fisheries on south and east coast of England. It’s almost the end of the road for small-scale fishers along the South and East Coast, according to a joint statement from fishing organisations and eNGOs.
The grouping, which comprises of: New Under Ten Fishermen’s Association (NUTFA); Fishing Industry Innovative Supply Hub Newhaven (FIISH); Eastbourne Fisherman’s Association; Lowestoft Fish Market Alliance; Thanet Fishing Association; Hastings Fishermen’s Protection Society; Pesky Fish; Sole of Discretion; Angling Trust; Greenpeace UK; and New Economics Foundation, claim: “This is an emergency, and politicians should treat it like one. Fishing communities from around the region, along with allied businesses and organisations including Greenpeace UK, are calling on the UK government to take urgent action.
“The changes we’re calling for include permanent bans for supertrawlers, bottom trawlers and fly-shooters in all marine protected areas more than 12 nautical miles from the coast in the English Channel, and a ban on pelagic trawlers over 55m in length, and fly-shooters in the entire English Channel and Southern North Sea.
“These measures would boost catches for local fishers, revive coastal communities and provide space for marine ecosystems and fish populations to recover from years of devastation by industrial fishing. This would also be a vital step towards the UK government delivering its target of protecting 30% of the UK’s and the world’s oceans by 2030.
On Wednesday the 22nd of September, fishing boats and Greenpeace will be sailing up the Thames to Parliament with these demands, to make sure that they are heard by politicians.”
The full statement reads:
“The UK’s oceans and coastal communities are in crisis. Just one third of our fish populations are in a healthy state. Industrial fishing vessels like supertrawlers and fly-shooters have immense catching capacity and are pushing marine ecosystems and fish populations to the brink of collapse, leaving local fishermen with nothing left to catch.
“Greenpeace has been working with local fishermen all summer to document the destruction of the UK’s seas by industrial fishing. When you’re on the water, it’s very clear: our fishing communities – especially in the English Channel and Southern North Sea – are at breaking point.
“Without urgent action, our oceans will be damaged beyond repair and our fishing communities won’t survive. The government has used new post-Brexit powers to ban electric pulse trawling, a perfect example of what is possible when there is political will. Australia banned supertrawlers like the Margiris from their waters over 5 years ago, but the UK has continued to let them fish here.
“The government has not properly assessed the environmental impacts of fly shooting, yet such vessels are licenced to fish in UK waters and Defra has removed all catch limits for fly shooters targeting non-quota species for 2021. This fundamentally conflicts with the precautionary objective in the Fisheries Act 2020
“That’s why we, England’s local fishermen, anglers, charter skippers, local businesses, Greenpeace and New Economics Foundation, call on our government to protect our oceans and fishing communities – beginning with the following measures:
- For the 10 offshore Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) that have been designated in the English Channel more than 12 nautical miles from the coast, supertrawlers over 100 metres, bottom trawlers and fly shooters should be banned immediately and permanently (see map below). This will help marine ecosystems to recover from intense fishing pressure and impacts on the seabed, revitalise fish populations and help local fishermen by boosting catches and reviving coastal communities. And it would be a vital step towards the scientifically supported target of fully protecting at least 30% of our oceans by 2030.
- Pelagic trawlers over 55 metres and fly shooters should be banned immediately from the entire English Channel, on the grounds of the precautionary objective in the Fisheries Act, and based on the immense threat these fishing methods pose to the livelihoods of fishermen along the south coast. This would also protect local fishermen from any displacement of industrial vessels banned from English Channel offshore MPAs. A full and thorough assessment should be done of the environmental and local economic impacts of both fishing methods in the waters of the English Channel before any decisions about granting fishing licences are made.
Southern North Sea:
- Pelagic trawlers over 55 metres and fly shooters should be banned immediately from the entire Southern North Sea, on the grounds of the precautionary objective in the Fisheries Act, and based on the immense threat these fishing methods pose to the livelihoods of fishermen along the coast of the Southern North Sea. This would also protect local fishermen from any displacement of industrial vessels banned from English Channel offshore MPAs. A full and thorough assessment should be done of the environmental and local economic impacts of both fishing methods in the waters of the Southern North Sea before any decisions about granting fishing licences are made.
“Additional steps must also be explored to support fishermen operating within the 6 – 12 nautical mile zone in both the English Channel and Southern North Sea, in light of the threat posed by large scallopers and large beamers.
“We must seize this once-in-a-generation opportunity to save our oceans and our fishermen.”
- New Under Ten Fishermen’s Association (NUTFA)
- Fishing Industry Innovative Supply Hub Newhaven (FIISH) Eastbourne Fisherman’s Association
- Lowestoft Fish Market Alliance
- Thanet Fishing Association
- Hastings Fishermen’s Protection Society
- Pesky Fish
- Sole of Discretion
- Angling Trust
- Greenpeace UK
- New Economics Foundation