Regional industry welcomes court ruling on catch quotas
The Westcountry's fishing fleet is set to benefit from a landmark court ruling on catch quotas.
Industry experts say a High Court decision to take lucrative quotas from giant companies and distribute them among smaller boats will regenerate the industry.
This could have major beneficial implications for Plymouth's 30-strong fleet and those in towns such as Looe, Salcombe and Mevagissey, and fish markets and restaurants.
"It's a better future for the small boats here," said Plymouth fisherman Dave Cuthbert, co-chairman of the New Under Ten Fishermen's Association for England and Wales. "A lot of small ports rely on fishing, tourists come to see fishing boats, it's part and parcel of the South West."
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And John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK, which partnered NUTFA in the court battle, told The Herald the decision had the potential to regenerate Plymouth's fishing industry and help the wider economy.
"There is no reason why Plymouth should not have a thriving, small-scale, low-impact fishing industry," he said.
"This would support the fish market and connect to local restaurants and support tourism and the city economy, meaning more jobs.
"It could be good for Plymouth. We could see growth again in small-scale fishing boats."
The long-running High Court battle came about after the Government wanted to redistribute some of the unused fishing allowances held by industry heavyweights.
These EU-set quotas, dished out annually by the Government on an historical basis, had fallen into the hands of large firms, some of which were not catching the full quota.
The High Court decision leaves the Government free to reallocate these valuable fishing rights from the big trawling vessels to smaller boats, typically under 10 metres long.