Dutch fishing industry faces new cuts

A large number of Dutch trawlers face being taken out of the water altogether because of tough new EU measures aimed at preserving fish stocks. EU ministers agreed yesterday to slash fishing quotas for sole and plaice by 15% and 12.5% respectively for next year and by up to 30% in the coming three years. On top of this, the number of fishing days for sole and plaice has been cut by 8%.

‘It is a bitter pill,’ Dutch fisheries minister Cees Veerman told ANP, ‘but at least we have clarity on quotas for the next few years.’ Veerman said the next cabinet will have to consider introducing measures to structurally reduce the size of the Dutch fishing fleet following the introduction of smaller quotas. At present it consists of around 400 coastal fishing boats and a handful of deep-sea vessels.
The Dutch fishing industry is largely dependent on sole and plaice, both in fishing and the processing industry. Dutch boats supply some 75% of the European sole and 37% of the European plaice catch.
‘A large number of boats will have to stop operating. It is very, very serious,’ Ben Dalder of the Dutch fishing industry association told public broadscaster NOS.
However, ANP reported that EU ministers did agree to support the introduction of a new Dutch method of fishing for flat fish using electric pulses on the sea bed. Veerman said there would be a subsidy and guarantee package for fishermen who invest in this expensive but energy-saving technique.

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