Revoke licences, says Alderney fisherman barred from Cherbourg

AN ALDERNEY fisherman who was prevented from landing his catch in Cherbourg this week has called for the Guernsey authorities to revoke the fishing licences of the blockade leader.

Alderney's Braye Harbour. (30272666)
Alderney's Braye Harbour. (30272666)

On Thursday night, Lewis Main arrived in Cherbourg on his boat the Amanda Jane to find a blockade at the quay and he was turned away.

The flare-up happened on the day that Guernsey issued 40 licences to French fishermen to operate within the Bailiwick’s territorial limit, and 18 applications were rejected.

It is understood that the blockade was organised by the owner of five Cherbourg-based trawlers, and that two of those trawlers were among the licence applications that were turned down.

Yesterday Mr Main sailed to Jersey and was able to sell his catch there.

Speaking last night as he sailed back to Alderney, he said he felt angry at the situation.

‘The main point is that we need more action from the States, some notification and some light on the situation would be nice for a start.

‘In my opinion if there are disrupted landings by the same company then all of their five boats should all have their licences revoked from fishing within the Bailiwick waters.

‘I don’t really think the people who are sat in offices, such as States members, actually realise what we’ve got to do right now.

‘I’ve got 40 miles to steam through in a south-westerly 7 gusting 8 in a 40ft boat, thanks to some French woman who threw her toys out the pram and I wasn’t notified.

‘It’s costing us time and money and it’s going to get dangerous.

‘Fishermen are naturally resilient, we need to make our money when we can, and if I’d held onto that fish for a few more days I would probably lost half of it.

‘We need a response, we need action and we need it fast.

‘I’m 32 and I’ve been fishing since I was 15, this is my fourth boat and I’ve got £250,000 to pay off, and after the year we’ve had as well, this really doesn’t help. It’s really hard times and I don’t need this.’

Last night Guernsey fishermen said they would not be heading to Cherbourg while there was uncertainty.

Deputy Neil Inder, the president of Economic Development, said there had been no official policy change on landing in EU designated ports but disruption from non-governmental sources could not be ruled out.

‘Disruption caused by individuals is extremely disappointing, given our commitment to transparency in the processing of licences and our aim of providing stability to the fishing economy within our joint region,' he said.

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