Channel plaice and sole quotas almost exhausted –

Channel plaice and sole quotas almost exhausted Published:  23 August, 2010

UK fishermen who operate in the English Channel in vessels under ten metres in length are now approaching the end of their catch quota limits for sole, plaice and skate, it has been announced.

The Marine Management Organisation, which monitors quotas in England and Wales, said the estimates are based on current catch rates and they have found that the fisheries are now approaching their uptake limits. The areas are V11d (roughly Dover to the Isle of Wight) for plaice, sole,skate and ray and  V11e (roughly from Isle of Wight to Cornwall) for plaice.

The MMO said it was  working hard within its  powers to continue to keep these fisheries open by actively seeking additional quota from a range of sources.  The organisation has alerted fishermen that it may  also have  to explore reductions in monthly catch limits to prolong these fisheries if necessary.

Until there is root and branch reform of the Common Fisheries Policy, the problem of UK fishermen running out of quotas well before the calendar year end is likely to continue. But change is not expected for another two years.

There was a similar issue last year and only a few days ago Kent fishermen were out in force at Whitstable Harbour to demonstrate against the current European quota system. They had earlier  sought the help of  Canterbury MP Julian Brazier  and  Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon to ask for an increase in the quota because they have virtually run out of catch allocation for various species and may not be able to put to sea until next year when the new quotas take effect. They are still waiting to hear if extra quota can be found from somewhere.