August 2008

Victor Good, Trevor Mole and Steve Barnes - fishermen martyrs

Archived Stop Press article

Newlyn- resting boatsNewlyn- resting boats
Christopher Booker tells the sorry tale of three fishermen who tried to make a living under the impossible conditions of the Common Fisheries Policy. Our judges, our politicians and our mainstream media rarely criticise a policy that has devastated many British livelihoods and also those of the West Africans whose fishing grounds are being hoovered up by EU fleets.

The Marine and Fisheries Agency (MFA) denied our three martyrs a quota sufficient to earn a modest living. They were aware that substantial quantities of UK quota, allocated mainly to Dutch-owned "flag boats", were not being fished for. In 2006 alone, 346 tons of the relevant sole quota remained unused. Under the "rules for the management of UK fisheries quotas", any quota unlikely to be caught should be reallocated to "those groups most likely to make use of it". But the authorities refused to follow these rules, so the three men landed sole illegally. The MFA spent a year entrapping them and then invoked the Proceeds of Crime Act, which is meant to be a deterrent to major criminals, so as to bankrupt them. The judge, Neil McKittrick, who is obviously brain dead in that he thinks that the Common Fisheries Policy serves to preserve fish, enthusiastically passed sentence.