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Waveney MP Peter Aldous presses minister and MEP for better deal for Lowestoft fishermen

PUBLISHED: 17:17 17 March 2011

Vicky Ford MEP with Sam Cole of Sam Cole Food Group

Vicky Ford MEP with Sam Cole of Sam Cole Food Group

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WAVENEY MP Peter Aldous has written to fisheries minister Richard Benyon and East of England MEP Vicky Ford to keep up the pressure on the government and European politicians to help the livelihoods of Lowestoft's fishermen.

Mr Aldous is campaigning on two fronts - to obtain extra quota of key species for Lowestoft fishermen in the short term, and on the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy and system of discard in the medium to long term.

In his letter to Richard Benyon, Mr Aldous points out the extra quota achieved by the minister at his meeting of the Council of Ministers in December is of limited help to Lowestoft fishermen.

The 12pc additional North Sea cod quota is only open to Fisheries Producer Organisations (FPOs), of which the vast majority of Lowestoft fishermen - many of whom are under 10 metre boats - are not members.

Mr Aldous’ letter to Vicky Ford, who visited Lowestoft fishermen last Friday, presses the MEP to ensure the reform of the current system of discard is top of her agenda.

At the moment is it claimed the European quotas led to up to 50pc of fish caught in the north sea are thrown overboard dead as featured in the Channel Four programme Fish Fight.

Mr Aldous has been campaigning since elected in May 2010 to achieve a fairer deal for Lowestoft’s fishermen. In December 2010 he led a delegation of Lowestoft fishermen to meet Mr Benyon at The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and has spoken regularly on the topic in the House of Commons.

Mr Aldous said: “While it appears we are moving in the right direction towards reform whereby the scandalous system of discard is ended, Lowestoft fishermen need to be able to catch more of the right species of fish now.

“I will continue to press both the minister and our MEPs for reform in order that our fishermen can begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

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