Small fishing boats have won the right to a share of fishing quotas previously allocated to big fishing companies, known as Producer Organisations, some of which have foreign-owned vessels among their members.
The High Court ruled that Producer Organisations did not effectively “own” the quotas granted by the UK Government, therefore they could be redistributed to smaller scale fishermen with vessels less than 10 metres long.
After the judgement, South East Euro MP Sharon Bowles, who has been fighting for the rights of small scale fishermen said, “For years small-scale fishermen in the South East have struggled to make ends meet because the bulk of the fishing quota allocated by the Government has gone to the large Producer Organisations.
“In some cases Producer Organisations have surplus quota which is leased on for a profit, while small-scale fishermen have been allocated quota as little as half a cod per day per boat. The outcome of last week’s judicial review is a victory for small-scale fishermen in the South East and I hope it will reinvigorate the dwindling inshore fishing communities which have suffered for so long.”
The Liberal Democrat south east member has long campaigned for the rights of small scale fishermen.