Green MEP, Molly Scott Cato, has thrown her support behind legal action by Greenpeace against the Coalition Government’s management of UK fishing quotas. The action at the High Court follows revelations that just one enormous Dutch fishing boat, the Cornelis Vrolijik, will be granted a colossal 23% of the English fishing quota while just 4% of the quota will go to the 4249 small English fishing boats under 10m in size [2]. Molly Scott Cato said:

“This week George Osborne visited the South West offering extra money to coastal towns. Meanwhile the Fisheries Minister has given the green light to this huge injustice. It’s a classic case of giving with one hand and taking away with the other. The Government is blatantly ignoring the needs of the many small fishing enterprises in our region and paying no regard to the need to have sustainable fisheries into the future.”

Greens argue that small boats invariably fish far more sustainably, have lower CO2 emissions and generate more jobs than industrial scale boats like the Cornelis Vrolijik. Dr Scott Cato plans to meet with representatives of the fishing industry when she next visits Devon and Cornwall. Greens in the European Parliament have consistently sought to support sustainable small fisheries rather than the industrialised ‘mega’ boats.

“It is up to our Government to allocate the fishing quota equitably and sustainably across the UK fleet, but they’d rather support their allies in the industrialised fishing sector and blame the European Union for harming local fishing communities,” said Dr Scott Cato

Greens want to see the establishment of highly protected marine reserves, covering at least 30% of the seas under European jurisdiction. They are also pressing for a reformed Common Fisheries Policy to end overfishing in the EU by 2018; are pushing for a ban on deep sea trawling and compliance with the ban on discards. They believe that by working with local fishing communities to support these measures, fisheries yields will be boosted in the future.

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