Fishermen ‘left to rot’ under mismanagement

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FISHERMEN have been ‘left to rot’ after they were banned from fishing the three main species in the area.

Peter Williams, 33, from Emsworth, says he is struggling to make a living during what should be his peak season due to government fishing bans.

“We are just being left to rot and this is all to mismanagement from above,” said the 
father-of-one.

“We’ve been destroyed over the last three years.

“The oyster season was closed, then we had the winter of storms and gales. It’s pretty grim.”

Skate and ray fisheries for the south coast were closed at the end of September and plaice fisheries were closed on Monday.

Quota for cod has been reduced to 400 kilos until Christmas – at 80p per kilo that means many fishermen are set to make a maximum of £320.

European Union laws limit the amount that may be fished each year to preserve stocks.

Fishermen have been blamed for ‘over fishing’ but Peter said some have suffered while others have been able to fish large amounts earlier in the year.

He said a species might only be inhabiting certain parts of the sea when it has a high quota on it. This means fishermen in that area might be able to catch a high quantity but by the time it arrives in another area a ban could be in place making the fishermen in that area suffer.

Peter said: “They’ve allowed everyone to catch too much in the early part of the year and now people waiting for it to turn up in our area are suffering the consequences of the mismanagement.”

Peak seasons for fishermen off the south coast are usually the start and end of the year. However, many could only fish for six days out of three months last winter due to storms making both seasons a fast.

“I’ve scratched my way through summer and now on the way to Christmas, I’ve got no way to make money,” he said.

Peter’s boat running costs of £30,000 a year make it even harder for him to run a viable business. Quotas are set annually at a European level by fisheries ministers. The total allowable catch for fishermen in the UK, is set by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO).