Fishermen take protest to Amsterdam
Hundreds of fishermen from Holland and Belgium took their grievances against the discard ban and the loss of fishing grounds due to the expansion of wind farms to Amsterdam this weekend, making plain their dissatisfaction with the way their industry is heading.
Seventeen fishing vessels docked in the centre of Amsterdam, a city that built its wealth and prosperity on the herring fishery. Between 600 and 700 fishermen from Holland and Belgium arrived in the city for a peaceful but highly visible protest that was followed by dozens of journalists.
The protest made primetime news slots on Dutch and Belgian TV, highlighting the problems the North Sea fishermen face.
â€˜European rules like the discard ban, plus the growing number of wind farms in the North sea, are a huge burden to the Dutch fishing industry,â€™ said Job Schot, chairman of the EMK action group that unites 125 vessels, making it clear why the fishing industry has brought its grievances to Amsterdam.
â€˜If nothing changes, there will be no future for the next generation,â€™ he said, as a petition of demands for Dutch and European policymakers was delivered to Dutch MEP Annie Schreijer-Pierik of the Christian Democrat party.
EMK is seeking for no more wind farms to be located on fishing grounds and spawning grounds, for more research to be conducted into he effects of wind farms on marine life, and for compensation for the indystryâ€™s losses. EMK is also pushing for the discard ban to be removed from the Common Fisheries Policy in the 2020 review.
â€˜We shouldnâ€™t be forced to kill juvenile fish that would otherwise survive if they are returned to the sea,â€™ Job Schot said, commenting that the discard ban is a deeply misguided and a poorly thought-out policy that is unworkable.
He commented that the Dutch and Belgian fishermen had a good day in Amsterdam, putting their point of view across and demonstrating that the industry can be united when faced with adversity.
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