May 2012 - Another betrayal of our fishermen
ON THE coast of Suffolk is a small tourist-friendly town called Aldeburgh. It has a shingle beach with a few drawn-up fishing boats and a shack restaurant where the fish is piping fresh and all line-caught.
And it will soon close as the last offshore fishermen go bankrupt.
The fault this time is not Brussels (save indirectly with its Common Fisheries Policy) but the stupid and ruthless jobsworths of the Defra ministry in London. All our fishermen can now only go to sea according to the quota they are allowed to catch – not just by weight but by species.
Until recently boats under 10 metres were exempt. But the quotas were so miserableie, not enough to make a basic living – that honest men had to chop chunks off the stern of their craftsmen-built vessels to come in at 9.99 metres.
Then, as so often, the sheer bureaucracy and its brutal imposition forced good men to contravene the rules. Retired fishermen sold their quotas to those still prepared to go to sea at 3.30am on a freezing morning.
Quota-breakers began to scrape a living- “fishermen” who never went to sea.
The fault this time is not Brussels
THERE are masses of fish out there, a glut of skate. But the Aldeburgh men are not allowed to catch them.
They die in the nets and have to be tossed overboard to sink to the bottom, rot and form an eco-disaster. never mind, it is spring, so soon the French boats will be sailing north to fish to the gunwales with whatever they catch and take it all home to France. their inspectors, seeing the insanity of the CFP, just turn a blind eye. After all it is only British fish they are stealing.
Come winter the Aldeburgh men will finally pack up, beaten at last, and the restaurants will buy from the French vans. In London the Defra jobsworths will give a sigh of satisfaction and award themselves fat bonuses for another job well done.
From an article by Frederick Forsythe