SCARBOROUGH’S fishermen are sceptical over the latest EU fish quota agreement which was signed in Brussels during the early hours of Saturday morning.
The agreement was reached following three weeks of behind the scenes talks and two days around the negotiating table.
Speaking shortly after the agreement was finalised Scarborough’s MP, Robert Goodwill, welcomed the news saying it was a better outcome than had been put forward.
But former trawler skipper Fred Normandale, who was in Brussels for the talks, said he was very upset that the MP thought it was a good deal.
He added: “For years and years they’ve been hammering us with quota cuts even though we know there is no shortage of fish – now even the scientists believe there’s no shortage of fish. They can’t hammer us with quotas so now they will hammer us with limiting days at sea. How can you survive on four days a fortnight?”
He said that the industry was very tightly monitored and boats were even fitted with cameras so officials knew exactly where they were. “What more can we do? They know where we are at every minute of the day,” he said.
Shaun Wood, who runs a Scarborough-based fish processing business, agreed that it was not good news for the fishermen because they were facing further cuts on days at sea.
He added: “They came away from the meeting saying that there would be small increases in certain quotas. But in the next few weeks they will come back to the boats and tell them how many days they’ve lost.”
Mr Wood said the decision was another “nail in the coffin” for the area’s fishing industry. He added: “There’s not many of us left, the youngest fisherman is 40, and when I retire there will be nothing left.”