Regional press rallies to support fishing industry

Costal newspapers are spelling out the human cost of the cod quotas

Coastal newspapers around the country are working hard to support their local fishing industries, which are facing job losses as the EU slashes cod catch quotas.

Kay Drummond, deputy editor of The Press and Journal, Aberdeen, said the outlook for the area was "very, very gloomy" as up to 30,000 jobs would be lost in the community.

"Industry leaders feel they have been the victim of a stitch-up the way things have gone in Brussels," said Drummond. "Aberdeenshire Council has challenged the Prime Minister to come up here and see for himself the devastating impact this is going to have on our communities. I think people underestimate how many areas are actually hit. It’s not just the trawlermen, though it is horrendous for them; it’s the massive knock-on effect in all our fishing communities."

The P&J is trying to keep pressure on the decision-makers to give the industry as much support as possible. Industry leaders met Scottish First Minister Jack McConnell before Christmas to plead for a lifeline over the next three months to limit the damage.

Devon and Cornwall is still recovering from the devastating effect of foot and mouth. Now its fishing industry, particularly in Cornwall, is threatened by the new cod quota of 75kg per month per boat.

Western Morning News editor Barrie Williams said hundreds more jobs would go in an already contracting industry.

The WMN has campaigned for domestic retention of rights on fishing and particularly against what Williams described as the "bloody criminal nonsense of having to throw perfectly good dead fish back into the water because it is accidentally caught over quota".

He said the new blow to West Country jobs resembled the way the Government behaved during foot and mouth: "Unfortunately, with both the EU and the Government on matters agricultural and fishing, it’s like punching the proverbial marshmallow. They don’t feel it and they ought to. But it doesn’t stop us punching."

By Jean Morgan

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