“Hands off” our mackerel handline quota – George

Posted on: 28th January 2014

Local MP, Andrew George, is demanding that Cornish mackerel fishermen retain a protected quota allocation. Mr George first campaigned for a protected quota for mackerel hand liners 16 years ago when Scottish fishermen threatened to squeeze the Cornish industry out of existence.

Mr George has again successfully campaigned for the 2014 quota to remain at its historic level of 1,750 tonnes. This is approximately one hundredth of the quota which large pelagic Scottish vessels catch each year.

Mr George has consistently pressed successive Defra Ministers to ensure that they defend the historic arrangements when negotiating the allocation for Cornish and South West mackerel handliners.

The Government has again faced increased pressure this year from the Scottish Government to reduce the handliner allocation and to place the surplus into the UK pot. This would result in most of it being redistributed to Scottish fishermen.

Mr George said: “Mackerel handling is one of the most low impact fishing methods there is. A Scottish purse seiner can take as much mackerel in a week as the whole Cornish mackerel handline fleet would take in a year. And the market value of handline caught fish is much higher.

“It is essential that we keep this industry alive. This is natural justice. We shouldn’t let those who do the right thing for the marine environment be bullied by the big boys who can siphon mackerel shoals with massive and powerful ocean going ships.”

Fisheries Minister, George Eustice MP, this week confirmed to Mr George that Defra had continued to defend the historic arrangements.

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