Selsey fisherman at forefront of government debate

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A SELSEY fisherman has been at the forefront of national debate in a bid to address the issue of quotas and bans.

Tony Delahunty is chairman of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO) and chairman of the Federation’s South East committee.

He has been in meetings with government ministers all week trying to ease the pain for fishermen on the south coast.

Mr Delahunty said the aim was for the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) to successfully swap additional quota with another country.

“There’s a lot of fish that’s not been caught so we might be able to swap quotas,” he said.

“It’s put undue pressure on the fishermen trying to make a living.

“Year-on-year the quotas are getting smaller and smaller. There will be a point where it won’t be financially viable for them to continue.”

An MMO statement said: “The early closure of fisheries is regrettable and we are aware of the impact these have and the frustration caused, particularly to those who have not exhausted their quota allocations.

“Where possible the MMO seeks to involve the industry and notify them in advance of our decisions, however, there are occasions when it may need to take action and make closures at short notice.”

“The early closure of fisheries is a last resort when all other efforts have been exhausted.

“If quota limits are exceeded they will have to be paid back next year and penalties may be applied by the European Commission, meaning the UK would have even less quota for 2015.

“It has been warning industry groups of those fisheries at risk of closure and is also working with them, and on their behalf, to try and secure additional quota from international swaps.”