THE Cornish fishing industry is set to benefit after a compensation scheme was announced to support pollack fishermen.

The Secretary of State for DEFRA has issued a ministerial directive for a compensation scheme for those fishermen most impacted by the zero total allowable catch decision on pollack which was recommended by the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas last year.

The changes left many Cornish fishermen in ports like Newlyn, Mevagissey and Newquay, who have traditionally relied on the pollack quota, without income at short notice.

MP Steve Double, who has been leading a campaign to support impacted fishermen, said: “I am delighted to see the Environment Secretary this evening announce a compensation scheme to support those fishermen most impacted by the Zero TAC pollack allowance.

“The Environment Secretary has listened and taken action, helped greatly by evidence provided to him from Cornish fishermen from places like Mevagissey and Newquay, and I'd particularly like to thank the fishermen from these communities and everyone who contacted me for taking the time to work constructively with me to help make the case for this support. 

“This shows that the government is on the side of Cornish fishermen and I am pleased to played a part in them reaching this decision.”

Joanna Kenny, Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for the St Austell and Newquay, believes the type of compensation is not what the ‘under 10m’ inshore fleets in Cornwall need.

Cllr Kenny said: “While it is welcome the Government is providing some compensation for the loss of pollock fishing quotas announced without warning just before Christmas, this is not what the ‘under 10m’ inshore fleets in Cornwall need.   

“This is not new money but the compensation will be paid out of the existing grant scheme for fishermen thereby deleting what’s available for the rest even further.

“Newquay fishermen tell me that since most of our local fishing fleets, including those in Mevagissey and Fowey, catch less than 30% pollock, the scheme will only benefit a very small minority of the smaller handline only boats – and even they will only get 50% of last year’s catch record.

“There is still no support for the inshore fleet who have been largely tied up all winter due to a succession of storms and bad weather.   And no recognition of the dire circumstances, following Brexit, of the collapse of the European shellfish market.

“While at least the Government is taking some action, but this is very limited compared to what is the norm in France were fishermen are supported with decommission schemes for new vessels and fuel subsidies are the norm.”

“The small boat fishing fleet is on its knees and needed better help than this announcement.”