Fish quotas are not the issue

Fishing boats in harbour
Fishing boats in harbour

Joan Ballington

Elphick Road, Newhaven

Michael Gove and Maria Caulfield (Sussex Express 27th July p3 Seaford-Newhaven-Peacehaven edition) are wrong – quotas are not the issue.

Small boats get the best quayside prices, £5 a kilo, for demersal fish (cod, halibut sole etc).

Newhaven has 27 out of 30 boats less than 10 metres in length.

So Newhaven fishers should be doing better as large boats get less than £2 per kilo (Marine Management Organisation figures).

Retail prices, however, cod £12 to £15 a kilo, halibut £25 – 30 a kilo, sole £22-25 a kilo show fat margins for wholesalers and retailers.

Increasing the supply of fish quayside would lower the price to fishers – basic economics law of supply and demand.

Increasing quotas would make it worse – which probably explains why, for many, fish quotas are not even close to being met – e.g. only 20% of the Eastern Channel cod quota was caught in 2016.

Once again our over concentrated retailers are squeezing food producers be it milk or fish. Follow the money to understand the market.