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Friday, 13 December, 2002, 08:25 GMT
Fishermen protest over quota cuts
Fishermen protesting in St Austell
Cornish fishermen say they do not earn a living wage
Nearly 40 Cornish fishermen have staged a protest to highlight their anger over cuts in fishing quotas.

Trawler crews from the Mevagissey area marched through St Austell to the town's job centre.

They claim that many of them do not receive a living wage.

Local people showed their support for the fishermen by sounding their car horns.

Mike Brokenshire
Mike Brokenshire says he is struggling to survive
The protest was one of a number of similar events which took place throughout the UK and coincided with a blockade of ports in France by French fishermen.

The European Union is proposing an 80% cut in cod fishing and skippers of small boats claim they will lose their livelihoods unless restrictions are eased.

Les Hunkin, of the Mevagissey Fisherman's Protection Association, appealed to Fisheries Minister Elliot Morley to come to Cornwall to see the problems for himself.

"We want the fishing minister to come down here so he can see in real terms what his policies are doing to the local community."

Owners struggling

Mike Brokenshire, a skipper from Mevagissey, said owners were struggling to survive.

"We have been told we can only catch 250 kilos of cod a month, which to us is worth about 500, when we should be earning 10,000 a month.

"Where do they expect us to find the money to support our families, pay for our boats, insurances, bank loans?

"It can't be done."

Scientists' warning

Another fisherman, Malcolm Solomon, said: "I left school to be a working man, not to be on the dole.

"There is nothing else for us to do and we have been in the business for 22 years.

"I've got a wife and two kids to support so I have come to sign on."

The plan to cut quotas follows a warning from scientists that over-fishing has led to a serious depletion of cod, haddock and whiting.


Click here to go to BBC Cornwall
See also:

11 Dec 02 | England
11 Dec 02 | England
09 Jul 02 | England
28 May 02 | Science/Nature
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