Victory for small-scale fishermen

The High Court ruling prevents big business from claiming ownership of fish stocks. Credit: David Sandison /Greenpeace The High Court ruling prevents big business from claiming ownership of fish stocks. Credit: David Sandison /Greenpeace

The High Court has backed the UK government's decision to redistribute some of the unused fishing allowances held by big fishing firms to small inshore fishing boats.

The amount of quota that can be reallocated as a direct result of the ruling, and which covers species like cod, sole, and herring, will now go into a common pool shared by small-scale fishermen in different parts of the UK.

Over 95% of the commercial fishing rights in the UK are taken by a group of Fish Producer Organisations, with small-scale fishermen having access to only 4% of fishing quota despite making up three quarters of Britain's fleet. Greenpeace says that fisheries minister Richard Benyon's decision to shift unused fishing quota from one sector of the fleet to another marks the first serious attempt in decades to tackle this imbalance.

The industry heavyweights had claimed that fishing quota cannot be taken away from the current holders because it’s private property. However, this was rejected by Mr Justice Cranston, who acknowledged that “No one can own the fish of the sea.”

Greenpeace and the New Under Ten Fishermen's Association (NUTFA) intervened in the case to argue that the right to fish must be treated as a public good, and distributed to those fishermen who operate more sustainably, play by the rules, and offer the best return for consumers and the local economy.

Jerry Percy, NUTFA's chief executive, said, “This ruling entirely vindicates the minister's decision to reallocate a small percentage of constantly unused fishing quota from the larger-scale operators to those smaller vessels in desperate need of it. It now gives the minister the opportunity to review the entire basis of allocating fishing rights and, through that, provide a lifeline to the smaller-scale fishermen who are the lifeblood of many coastal communities.”

 

LATEST PRESS RELEASES

This clever infographic shows why maritime companies should now start smart with their data

This clever infographic shows why maritime companies should now start smart with their data for exam... Read more

Nine OXE Diesel 150 to Flugga Boats in Shetland

“We congratulate Proteum on the contracted sales of nine OXE Diesel 150 to Flugga Boats. The combina... Read more

MFV ‘Atlantic Titan’ – 90 foot crab and demersal fish Trawler

Shipbuilding Asia and Macduff Ship Design are pleased to announce the completion and handover of a n... Read more

The fight against IUU fishing

The issue of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and their harmful effects are hardly ... Read more

AST iRAMS Maritime Fuel Saving Analysis

AST iRAMS Maritime Fuel Saving Analysis Read more

New Cleopatra 33 for a hunting of lobster delivered to Fraserburgh, Scotland

A new Cleopatra boat was delivered to Fraserburgh on the north eastern coast of Scotland. Read more

View all