Working to protect the future of fishing

Whatever the weather and whatever the time of day, Rachel Hanbury can be found out and about doing her rounds at Scarborough Harbour.

Rachel is a senior marine officer at the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) and divides her time between the harbour and the organisation’s local base at Eastfield.

Senior Marine Officer Rachel Hanbury,looks to the future.Picture Richard Ponter140224a

Senior Marine Officer Rachel Hanbury,looks to the future.Picture Richard Ponter140224a

The MMO is responsible - along with other bodies - for fishing activity around the coast of England.

This includes inspecting fishing vessels at sea and in port, as well as fishing industry premises, fish markets and other locations around the coast.

The organisation also offers advice on a range of marine matters, including grants for fishermen, awarding millions of pounds a year to the industry.

The patch that Rachel covers stretches from Redcar to Skipsea, covering the main landing ports of Scarborough, Bridlington and Whitby.

Her days tend to start early, with the fish market getting under way at around 6.30am.

Rachel explains: “It’s a good opportunity to see the fishermen - they much prefer talking to us face to face.

“But I come down for various reasons - to have a look at what’s being caught, so we know what’s out there and what isn’t.

“We also got legal obligations to look at things such as minimum landing sizes. We also look at prices, which can be affected by so many things.

“It just gives us a bigger picture of what’s going on.”

The MMO also administers the quota for under 10m vessels, holding regular quota surgeries.

Rachel said: “It’s a good opportunity for people to say what they want and when they want it.

“It’s important that we work closely and I really enjoy working with the fishermen.”

Rachel is also present at landings - which can be at any time of day or night - to enforce legislation.

The MMO also works with fishermen on the issue of discards - the practice of throwing dead fish back into the sea when quotas have been met.

Rachel explained that a catch quota trial has been taking place in Scarborough which involves the use of CCTV on boats.

She said: “We’re looking at what’s being caught and what would normally be thrown back, as they have to land what they would normally discard.

“It’s to make sure they’re not getting too tight on their quotas. “We finding out some interesting stuff and skippers seem to like it.”

Rachel, who has been in her current role for the last three years, says she loves the job - despite the early starts.

She added: “Sometimes I come down at 6am and think ‘what am I doing?’

“But then I look over the harbour at the pink sunrise and I love it. “I also believe in what we do - that we’re doing good for the future of the industry.

“There are young people coming into the industry, like those at the Whitby Fishing School, and we need to make sure there’s something for them to fish.

“It’s about sustainable fishing and protecting the marine environment.”