Fishing fuel anger erupts on Yorkshire Coast Published: 23 May, 2008
EMOTIONS over rising fuel costs and other issues among Yorkshire Coast fishermen boiled over into direct action at Whitby earlier this week.
A number of trawlers temporarily blockaded a French trawler in the local harbour. It was later allowed to leave.
The Saint Josse had just landed several tonnes of white fish, but the local trawlermen said that was not the reason for the action. They wanted to send a message to the UK Government about their anger over fuel and other issues such as quotas.
The French boat has a cod quota of the type which is denied to East Coast trawlers. One skipper, Richard Brewer told reporters that they just wanted to make a point.
Two weeks earlier, fishing colleagues further down the coast at Bridlington, home of Europe’s largest shell fishing fleet, told the government that they were putting their boats up for sale unless there was some help on fuel. Their income is also being hit by large imports of lobsters, mainly from Canada, which has seen their prices drop by over £6 a kilo.
With oil costs likely to go even higher in the next few weeks, more direct action by the Yorkshire fishermen cannot be ruled out. However, not everyone is in agreement.
Local trawler owner Arnold Locker told the local newspaper – the Whitby Gazette – that the French had the quota and it was better they landed in Whitby rather than take their catch further down the coast to Grimsby. While he sympathised with the local crews over quotas, he said the port should welcome all the fish it can get.
Meanwhile, Icelandic trawler skippers yesterday carried out their threat to stop fishing for blue whiting because fuel costs no longer make it worthwhile. The problem is that more valuable species like cod are restricted by tight quotas.
It is now unlikely that the full catch quota of 232,000 tones will be taken up in the current fishing year.
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