An inshore fishermen’s leader says unlicensed anglers are landing and selling large amounts of bass, cod and other quota species while commercial fishermen are struggling to survive due to lack of quota, reports Tim Oliver.

Paul Joy of Hastings, co-chairman of NUTFA, said the cod fishery in his area (VIId) is currently closed to under-10m boats, yet anglers are coming ashore with up to 200 fish a day and complaining of the abundance of cod.

He told Fishing News, “The angling fleet here is bigger than the commercial fleet and you’ve got boats coming in with boatloads of cod. No problem, they can catch what they like.

“The MMO doesn’t bother with them, but they can’t be eating all that fish themselves, can they? Yet we in the under-10m commercial sector have a total ban on cod for six months.
“We can’t survive on £144 a week (based on the current value of the monthly cod, sole, skate and plaice quota and by-catch and a four-and-a-quarter share), which is all we can earn after expenses with the quota we’ve got – 250kg of plaice, no cod (for six months), 200kg skate and 1t of sole.

“People can’t live on and catch 1t of sole a month, and survive on almost nothing else. These small quotas just create discards. People are struggling to get by, diversifying to bass and cuttles.”

Joy claims he has never been in a worse financial position from fishing than right now.
“Yet there’s plenty of fish about – I don’t know what’s going to happen with cod later in the year; we had 25st of cod in our cuttle traps the other day.

“I’ve never seen so much cod – they’re beginning to disappear now, thank goodness, but the cod we’ve been forced to dump this year is absolutely incredible.

“It’s the same with plaice; our plaice boats can’t fish – half a morning and their plaice quota’s gone.

“Yet we’re watching anglers coming ashore with boatloads of fish, and DEFRA and the MMO seem to think there’s no problem with that.”

Paul also hit out at DEFRA and the MMO for failing to act on the 2013 High Court Judicial Review on the ownership of quota.

“Most of our problems are a consequence of a lack of quota,” he said.

“The government won the case on the ownership of quota in 2013, but here we are in 2015 and nothing has happened.

“Article 17 of the reformed CFP on quota allocation backs up the court case but we’re still in the same position and the UK still has only 8% of the Channel cod TAC because of the EU shareout.

“Then our share in the under-10s was given to the over-10s because of the methodology of how quota was allocated.

“We need to change DEFRA’s attitude. It keeps saying ‘we’re looking at it’, but two years later it’s still going on. All we want is a level playing field and the right to fish on our proven historic track record.”

Paul said he hoped that some progress could be made with the new fisheries management board that had been set up involving DEFRA, the MMO and industry representatives.

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An inshore fishermen’s leader says unlicensed anglers are landing and selling large amounts of bass, cod and other quota species while commercial fishermen are struggling to survive due to lack of quota, reports Tim Oliver. Paul Joy of Hastings, co-chairman of NUTFA, said the cod fishery in his area (VIId) is currently closed to under-10m boats, yet anglers are coming ashore with up to 200 fish a day and complaining of the abundance of cod. He told Fishing News, “The angling fleet here is bigger than the commercial fleet and you’ve got boats coming in with boatloads of cod. No problem, they can catch what they like. “The MMO doesn’t bother with them, but they can’t be eating all that fish themselves, can they? Yet we in the under-10m commercial sector have a total ban on cod for six months. “We can’t survive on £144 a week (based on the current value of the monthly cod, sole, skate and plaice quota and by-catch and a four-and-a-quarter share), which is all we can earn after expenses with the quota we’ve got – 250kg of plaice, no cod (for six months), 200kg skate and 1t of sole. “People can’t live on and catch 1t of sole a month, and survive on almost nothing else. These small quotas just create discards. People are struggling to get by, diversifying to bass and cuttles.” Joy claims he has never been in a worse financial position from fishing than right now. “Yet there’s plenty of fish about – I don’t know what’s going to happen with cod later in the year; we had 25st of cod in our cuttle traps the other day. “I’ve never seen so much cod – they’re beginning to disappear now, thank goodness, but the cod we’ve been forced to dump this year is absolutely incredible. “It’s the same with plaice; our plaice boats can’t fish – half a morning and their plaice quota’s gone. “Yet we’re watching anglers coming ashore with boatloads of fish, and DEFRA and the MMO seem to think there’s no problem with that.” Paul also hit out at DEFRA and the MMO for failing to act on the 2013 High Court Judicial Review on the ownership of quota. “Most of our problems are a consequence of a lack of quota,” he said. “The government won the case on the ownership of quota in 2013, but here we are in 2015 and nothing has happened. “Article 17 of the reformed CFP on quota allocation backs up the court case but we’re still in the same position and the UK still has only 8% of the Channel cod TAC because of the EU shareout. “Then our share in the under-10s was given to the over-10s because of the methodology of how quota was allocated. “We need to change DEFRA’s attitude. It keeps saying ‘we’re looking at it’, but two years later it’s still going on. All we want is a level playing field and the right to fish on our proven historic track record.” Paul said he hoped that some progress could be made with the new fisheries management board that had been set up involving DEFRA, the MMO and industry representatives.

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