This coming Saturday a small Greenpeace fishing vessel will be putting in to Ramsgate. They are coming to highlight a really important issue that I also want to draw attention to in Herne Bay and Margate too – supporting local sustainable fishing.
(“The Rising Tide”, will be at Ramsgate on Saturday 28th March between 11am and 1pm… I’ll be taking the kids along; it’s meant to be family-friendly!)
Greenpeace are using the boat to draw attention to their campaign for fair fishing quotas that benefit local, sustainable fishing communities, rather than huge, industrial trawlers—which the government continues to support, despite European changes to the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).
In January Greenpeace lodged a case at the High Court over this. (A huge Dutch-owned trawler for example holds a whopping 23% of England’s entire fishing quota and illegal fishing continues to be widespread as penalties are no harsh enough to act as a proper disincentive…)
Greenpeace argues that the government is contravening European fishing law under the CFP, which was reformed in 2013 and now requires EU Member States to adopt criteria that prioritise quota for businesses that fish in an environmentally sustainable way and most contribute to national coastal economic and social wellbeing.
Local, low impact fishermen should receive more quota because they fish more sustainably, have lower CO2 emissions and provide greater employment and job creation opportunities than the industrial scale fleet.
You can still (on a good day!) catch bass, thornback rays, red and grey mullet, dogfish, smoothounds, mackerel, flounders, conger, herring, cod, dab, gurnard, plaice, monkfish, plaice, sole and whiting of the east Kent coast.
(I’m a big supporter of plans for an ambitious Pier Marina in Herne Bay. Interest has previously been expressed in this as a centre for sustainable fishing practices and research…)
But illegal overfishing and poor quota allocation destroy the marine environment and undermine the local fishing community. Signing Greenpeace’s petition calling for the government to put local sustainable fishermen first is a good start to putting things right. To find out more drop by Ramsgate on Saturday!