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Friday, 24 October 2014

Devon MP calls for inquiry over ban on ray fishing

This story appeared in the Western Morning news - just as relevant to many fishermen in Cornwall!

Part of Devon’s fishing industry could be on the brink of collapse following a ban on ray fishing.
The nationwide restriction came after the UK went over its quota set by Brussels. But the ban will hit fishing communities on the north Devon coast hardest since ray are the main species of fish caught off the Bristol Channel. The fishery will re-open again on January 1 when the new quota kicks in.

Geoffrey Cox, Conservative MP for Torridge and West Devon, said the ban is a “significant blow”.He is calling on ministers to hold an inquiry into whether the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) quango, which oversees the catch, has “mismanaged the quota for ray and if not why it was that the MMO appear to have traded away a quantity of ray quota recently”.
He said: “Fishermen quite rightly ask that the quota system is managed competently and it is astonishing that the MMO seems to have misjudged the situation so badly.” Trevor Gray from the Bideford Trawlermen’s Co-operative said that the Bristol Channel’s ray stocks were in good shape. He said: “The whole question of quotas needs urgent review with local fisheries being in control of their own quotas.”
A Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs spokesman said: “It’s important we strike the right balance between supporting our fisheries and protecting the marine environment. Quotas ensure the sustainability of our stocks which supports the long term future of the industry – overfishing also results in penalties from the EU.”
The MMO said quotas for some stocks in the area had been cut by the European Commission in recent years. It said the UK quota for skates and rays had been “significantly reduced”, by half since 2009.
“The early closure of fisheries is regrettable and we recognise that this decision is frustrating to those groups that have not exhausted their quota allocation,” said a spokesman.

Read more: http://www.westernmorningnews.co.uk/Devon-fisheries-jobs-risk-ban-ray-fishing/story-23401189-detail/story.html#ixzz3H3UHquX4 
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