Fishermen travel to parliament to protest super trawlers “threatening livelihoods and oceans”
Video report by Sarah Saunders of ITV News Meridian
A flotilla of fishing boats from the Sussex coast marched up the Thames to Parliament on Wednesday 22 September to protest against industrial super trawlers which they say threaten both their livelihoods and the oceans.
The fishermen, from Newhaven and Rye, who have joined environmental activists, say the fishing techniques they call “ruthless” are emptying the seas.
The government says it is determined to protect the marine environment.
Martin Yorwarth, who sails the Sarah Jane out of Newhaven, said: “Outside the six miles there are no more fish. The fly shooters, the super trawlers destroyed it for us.
“We have to ban super trawlers or the small-fleet fishing industry is over.”
Scott Marchant, who fishes in Rye, said: “The profit is theirs as with the smaller boats the money is shared around the local community rather than being taken away.”
Super trawlers and fly shooters use efficient fishing methods, some of which apparently can catch in a day what small boats do in a year.
Trawling along the seabed has been banned along a section of the Sussex coast near shore to allow the vast kelp forests to recover.
However, Greenpeace says the situation remains at a critical point.
Fiona Nicholls of Greenpeace said: “When it comes to going out in the English Channel and the southern North Sea, it’s pretty much a free industrial activity for everyone, especially in marine protected areas where it is not. ‘is protected only by name. “
The Ministry of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs says all fishermen must comply with regulations, including those on sustainability.
George Eustice, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said: “Now that we are outside the European Union, we have the possibility of putting in place restrictions on many of these big ships, new technical measures which we have the power to introduce, we have powers that we never had before.
“We have already taken steps to shut down and introduce new protections in areas such as Dogger Bank.
“We have other plans to put in place new protections for our marine environment.”