Small scale fishermen reel in High Court victory
4:41pm Friday 26th July 2013 in News
A LANDMARK victory in the High Court has paved the way for small-scale fishermen in Pembrokeshire to catch more fish in the future.
On July 10 a judge ruled in favour of redistributing some of the fishing rights from big producers to smaller ones.
Previously large-scale fishermen controlled more than 90 per cent of the overall fishing quota for the UK, but they left a large amount of their quota untouched for years.
The government then decided to reallocate a small proportion of it and share it out among the smaller operators.
The decision was challenged by the UK Association of Fish Producer Organisations, which argued that the move was unlawful under both domestic and EU laws, but the judge ruled against them.
Jerry Percy who lives near Haverfordwest is chief executive of the New Under Ten Fishermen’s Association and welcomed the decision.
He represents smaller-scale fishermen in England and Wales who operate in vessels of less than ten metres in length.
He said: “Although most of the 400 or so vessels in Wales fish for non-quota species such as lobster and crab, this decision is good news for the long-term survival and prosperity of small scale, sustainable fishermen.
“We have had an ongoing imbalance in quota allocation for many years which has resulted in the fact that while we are three quarters of the commercial fleet in the UK, we have had access to only four per cent of the quota overall.”
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