The Government must act quickly and decisively to safeguard the future of the North Devon fishing industry said Torridge and West Devon MP, Geoffrey Cox as he question Ministers about the unfair and illegal competition fishermen in the region are facing from European Trawlers.
In the House of Commons Mr Cox spoke of the intense pressure being placed in fish stocks in the Bristol Channel and Bideford Bay by foreign vessels, unable to make sufficient catches in the North Sea, which are moving increasingly closer to the North Devon coast and “hoovering up fish” in the area. Their activities are, Geoffrey Cox said, “wholly contrary” to those of the local fishing industry which is “struggling to create and to promote itself as a sustainable fishery off Lundy and around the north Devon coast.”
Later Mr Cox said:
“I wholeheartedly support the efforts by the local fisherman’s association to create a sustainable fishing zone off the north Devon coast. However, these commendable efforts are being undermined by massive trawlers from Belgium, and elsewhere, who having over fished the North Sea, are now landing enormous catches from the Bristol Channel. There are reports of foreign trawlers landing 500-600 boxes of fish each. Clearly, catches on this scale are unsustainable and urgent action must be taken to protect both fishermen and fishing stocks in our area.”
25th July 2006