Seafarers UK Trustee Lord Mountevans Highlights Issues Facing Fishers
As the UK Fisheries Bill proceeds through Parliament, Seafarers UK Trustee Lord Mountevans grasped the opportunity on 11 February to inform Peers about the challenges facing Britain’s small scale inshore fishers and their coastal communities.
Prior to his speech in the House of Lords, Lord Mountevans met with Seafarers UK CEO Catherine Spencer and Grants Director Deborah Layde to be briefed about the charity’s ongoing campaigning on behalf of fishers in need and their families.
Lord Mountevans commented that fixed fish species quota allocations have seriously disadvantaged the smaller sector that ‘despite making up 80% of the UK fleet by number has access to less than 2% of our national allocation.’
He stated: ‘A recent investigation found that the five largest quota holders control more than a third of UK fishing quota. And around half of England’s quota is ultimately owned by Dutch, Icelandic, or Spanish interests.’
Continuing, Lord Mountevans said: ‘My Lords, the Bill and the welcome accompanying debate around the UK fishing industry affords a once in a life time opportunity for Government and society to address some of the challenges I and other noble Lords have noted.’
‘The small boat sector is not challenged only economically. In the past 10 years, 94 fishermen have died off the UK, 529 have suffered serious injury and 210 fishing vessels have been lost.’
In conclusion, Lord Mountevans referred to Seafarers UK’s ‘Fishing for a Future’ report from 2018 and recommendations made in a subsequent study, which is soon to be published by the charity.