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The Last Fishermen of Sussex: Going Under

sarah stirk | United Kingdom

8.6.15 The Stade beach. Hastings 3.30am.The Stade has been home to fishermen for centuries. and currently holds 29 of the 339 small fishing boats in the south east who are permitted to access around 30% of the regional quota. The remaining 70% is controlled by 9 larger vessels."We've been fishing here for nearly 1000 years." Paul Joy, local fisherman and Campaigner.

In the darkness of 3.30am on the Stade beach in Hastings, Sussex, Paul Joy and his crew prepare to set out to sea cuttle-fishing.

For Paul and hundreds of other small fishing communities around the UK, it’s a way of life going back nearly a thousand years. But they say that they’re now struggling to survive, and if things continue as they are, they won’t last much longer.

In 2006 the European Union imposed strict fishing quotas. But UK allocations are imbalanced, say the fishermen, in favour of larger operators, leaving “inshore” fishing boats (boats under 10 meters long) with access to only 4-6% of the total fishing quota.

These small fishing vessels account for 77% of the UK’s fishing fleet, and provide 65% of full-time employment in the industry. Coastal communities rely on fishing, and the jobs and tourism it brings, to survive.

On 1st of January 2014 a new Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) came into force. But critics say change has not been forthcoming






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