The Dutch fishing industry and its communities will be hard hit by the government’s buy-out scheme, according to an analysis by Wageningen researchers for the farm ministry.
Brexit has reduced the area of British waters open to Dutch trawlers by 25% and last year the government introduced a €155 million buy-out package for fishermen who have been hit by the ruling.
High fuel prices, offshore wind farms and the ban on pulse fishing, by which fish are caught using electric shocks rather than drag nets, are also having an impact on the health of the Dutch fishing industry.
So far 54 of the 280 Dutch trawlers in operation have been decommissioned, or almost one third of the 149 which are eligible for the scheme.
The Wageningen report shows that reducing the size of the Dutch fleet is having an impact on a wide range of other firms, from boat builders and net makers to processing firms that ready fish for the hospitality industry.
While fishing itself brought in €344 million in 2021, the spin-off industries’ turnover was some €2.9 billion.
With large-scale decommissioning, the researchers said they expected the fish processing chain and technical and service supply industry to seek alternatives “such as fish sourced from elsewhere” or move into other areas.
However, it will also have an impact on fishing communities, such as Urk and IJmuiden, the researchers said.
“A decline of a fleet in a home port might impact on… the identity of the fishing community where the active fleet is an important carrier of the immaterial cultural heritage (such as fishing festivals).
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