Greenpeace takes up the fishing fight

FISHERMEN in Eastbourne have joined forces with international campaign group Greenpeace to lobby for changes to controversial fishing laws.

The environmental charity has launched a Be a Fisherman’s Friend drive to try and help secure a better share of EU quotas for coastal fleets and small, eco-friendly boats.

Eastbourne-based activist Evie Sier said something had to be done to stop struggling fishermen from being forced under by quotas stacked heavily in favour of the over 10 metre boats.

She said, “Our fish and fishermen are in deep crisis. More than 70 per cent of Europe’s stocks are being over-fished, and the UK’s low impact fishermen are being put out of business by policies which shut out sustainable fishermen and favour Europe’s high impact operators.

“ In Eastbourne local fishermen who have a long tradition in the area, are really struggling to survive”.

Greenpeace has long-argued a reform of Europe’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) planned for later this year offers a once-in-a-decade chance to change things

It is calling for a halt to taxpayer subsidies for destructive fishing practices, and for fishing rights to be granted to those who fish sustainably.

One of those fishermen is Eastbourne’s Graham Doswell. He welcomed the heavyweight support and said, “It is great news that Greenpeace is supporting our local fishing community by demanding changes in the Common Fisheries Policy that would reward low impact, small scale sustainable fisheries. Hopefully the artisanal [more sustainable] fleet will at last get the recognition it deserves for the way in which it operates.”

Greenpeace campaigner Alicia Craw has spent time on the south coast recently, meeting with local fishermen and said it is vital the powers that be act sooner rather than later.

She said, “I’ve seen for myself the impact EU fisheries policy, and our own Government’s decisions, are having on communities like Eastbourne.

“This year’s reform of the CFP reform offers a crucial opportunity to demand real change, and I hope lots of Eastbourne locals will join the campaign in support of local, sustainable fishermen.”