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Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Letter to anyone who will listen from Under 10m skipper/owner Steve Barratt, Ransgate.

10th December 2015

Dear Sir, 

I run an ‘Under 10m’ netting boat the ‘Razorbill’ from Ramsgate Harbour. Unfortunately, fishing is an industry that receives no support whatsoever from this and our previous Government and I have come to the conclusion that the decision has been made to get rid of the industry by starving fishermen out of business with grossly inadequate quota limits and by using unbelievable policing levels to monitor fish landings. If I am wrong in my assumption, I find it hard to believe that so many people can be employed policing an industry they have no knowledge of. The majority of boats operating out of Ramsgate Harbour are under 10m and use probably the most environmentally friendly methods of fishing that there are. We work in a mixed fishery and anyone with the slightest knowledge of the fishing industry will know that quota systems do not work in areas like ours.

The people making the decisions regarding fish quota’s appear to have less idea of how to run the industry than I have about brain surgery and I can assure you that I have no knowledge in this field whatsoever. A few examples of the incompetence I have to put up with are as follows……………

1) I am allocated a reasonable quantity of Dover Sole in December which is a time of year when I am very unlikely to need such an amount, and I am allocated a much smaller figure during the summer months when I can catch it in large quantities.

2) I am never allocated a sensible amount of skate yet it is in abundance around our coast all year round.

3) I am given a large amount of cod to catch in the summer months but told that I cannot land more than five boxes for the whole of December.

4) Working in a mixed fishery makes it impossible to target certain species of fish without catching other species at the same time thus resulting in many fish being returned to the sea with little or no chance of survival. As if this wasn’t enough to put up with, I am regularly boarded and my catch recorded by overzealous fisheries officers who are desperate to catch someone out with a few fish over quota so that they can get a prosecution. They are like the traffic warden who runs around at 7.00am on a Sunday morning issuing parking tickets to people who were sensible enough to leave their car behind as they had had a few drinks the night before. 

I have been spoken to by fisheries officers on two occasions so far this month and I have only been to sea on three occasions! I assume this is because they know that it is impossible to avoid catching more cod than I have been allocated, and also because they know that it is impossible to survive on the amount I have been given.

As if the policing by the MMO and IFCA wasn’t enough, the Customs Border Patrol Vessel the ‘Vigilante’ has been equipped with electronic scales and is busy policing the boats whilst we are at sea. It is an absolute disgrace to have this vessel wasting time on a few inshore fishing boats whilst the country has a relatively high terror alert. This vessel is not doing the job it is designed to do and that is to patrol and protect our borders from such things as drug runners, illegal immigrants and potential terrorists.

I am going to do everything in my power to make the general public aware of the fact that the government find it more important to try and stop hard working fishermen from earning a living than actually protecting our country from an influx of potential terrorists with the capabilities of causing atrocities such as the ones in Paris recently.

Yours faithfully 
STEVE BARRATT

Copies to………..David Cameron PM, Craig MacKinlay MP Thanet South, UKIP, The MMO, Fishing News, Daily Express, We Love Ramsgate Facebook page, Realfishfight Facebook page Steve Barratt Ramsgate Kent CT12 6TE