Warning of the fishing industry about the future of small vessels before Brexit

  Scottish fisherman holding an haddock

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The United Kingdom will remain in the Common Fisheries Policy until the transition period of Brexit ends December 2020

Hundreds of small fishing boats will be lost before Brexit is complete unless they are allowed to catch larger catches, industry figures have warned.

They fear that a draft of the White Paper on Fisheries suggests that the current system of fishing quotas may not be significantly reformed.

Jerry Percy, of its trade body, said the fee should be transferred from large to small vessels.

A government spokesman said he could not comment on the leaked documents.

Mr. Percy, of the Association of Ten-Year-Old Fishermen, said: "Jobs will be lost, boats will be lost, local fishing landings will be lost, culture will be lost, tradition will be lost"

The draft of the white paper, which dates from February. and seen by the BBC Radio 4 Today program, he says the government recognizes that many companies rely on the current quota system. Ministers will recognize that fact when they consider potential changes, he adds.

Fishermen operating small vessels fear that this means there will be no changes to the system for existing quotas, which is based on the fishing volumes of the late 1990s.

Boats less than 10 m ( 33 feet) long have only 4% of the total quota.

The ministers will negotiate to recover additional EU quotas, but the way in which the existing quota is allocated corresponds to the national governments of the United Kingdom.

Smaller operators, who for a long time believed that they were not getting fair treatment, do not think they will get more shares from Brussels in the short term, so they are concentrating on reallocating the existing quota.

A larger Dutch-owned trawler, the Cornelis Vrolijk, controls more than one fifth of England's quota allocation and two-thirds of the quota allocation for North Sea herring.

Has increased its quota by purchasing quota over the years under the terms of the Common Fisheries Policy.

& # 39; Fish of low value & # 39;

The shipowner told Today that he needed a high quota because he captured low-value species, such as herring and mackerel.

"We have what it looks in volume, however, that quota is for low-value fish and we need to invest in large vessels to catch it", Matthew Cox, executive director of North Atlantic Fishing, which is part of the multinational group Cornelis Vrolijk. He said.

Cornelis Vrolijk is based in Hull and provides jobs for 60 employees there, but landed fish in the Netherlands, where it is currently docked and is being repaired.

Mr. Cox said that the British ports did not have the facilities that the company needed and most of the fish were exported outside Europe, so the United Kingdom was not an important market.

A spokesperson for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: The fleet of less than 10 m plays an important role in our fishing industry and in our coastal communities.

"Leaving the EU gives us the opportunity to design a new national fisheries policy, which benefits all sectors of fleet fishing and allows our industry to prosper."


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