Saturday’s headlines in the JEP concerning the recent move by Guernsey to create an exclusive fishing zone, preventing Jersey’s fleet access, provoked me in to writing the following letter to Andy Sibcy.
“Your article on the Jersey’s fishing fleets dilemma concerning the loss of fishing rights to Guernsey’s quick actions in securing pole position over the island’s waters highlights the disparity between the issue of diversification mooted at hustings and the actuality of an industry threat. There seem few pragmatic solutions.
Sidelined as a quaint occupation, or neutered by EU restrictions the Jersey fleet still creates a livelihood for around a hundred boats and crew.
It provides fresh fish to local restaurants and services a massive export industry with shellfish in particular.
Under a punishing regime, combating bureaucracy and the need to fish in the poorest of weathers they have survived by sheer tenacity and a sense of constant purpose.
With the finance industry under threat from global forces we need to look keenly at what local industries we can support before their hopes are dashed by a lack of political support.
There are three potential wins here.
- Securing the existence of an industry under threat thereby creating a sustainable continuance of both an historic exporter and employer.
- Using the current problem as a platform for pan island development opening discussions and working together with a proactive collaboration.
- By working on the above the people of this island can begin to see physical evidence not just of diversification in action but also of a government willing to support a group of individuals that for some time have been suffering from neglect.
It would be shameful if this important issue is not addressed and a solution found to satisfy everyone.”