The Assistant Minister for Economic Development, Deputy Carolyn Labey, has confirmed a package of short-term measures designed to support the local fishing industry. The measures are a response to severe restrictions on the fleet’s operations caused by bad weather during the first quarter of this year.
In a letter delivered today to the Island’s commercial fishermen, Deputy Labey outlined the measures and stated the Department’s intention to begin a long-term review of the industry.
Two measures will be effective immediately, with a view to reducing the cost base of local fishermen suffering reduced income from the lack of catches during the winter period. Firstly, the Economic Development Department will pay for commercial fishermen’s remaining harbour dues or mooring costs for 2014. Secondly, the Department will provide funds to cover the Jersey Fishermen’s Association’s (JFA) 2014 and 2015 contributions to the annual Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) audit.
Supported by the Chief Minister, the Treasury Minister and the Economic Development Minister, Deputy Labey has also proposed a third measure, which could see commercial fishermen receiving grants for up to 80 per cent of the cost of replacement and 20 per cent of the cost of repair of lobster pots lost or damaged in recent bad weather. However, this measure depends on the successful outcome of work with the Treasury and Resources Department to secure funding.
Other measures include: meetings between commercial fishermen and officials from the Social Security Department; discussions between the JFA and Genuine Jersey Products Association; and ongoing work with the JFA and other industry representatives to commission and develop a long-term business development strategy for the industry.
Deputy Labey said: “Our local fishermen have endured hugely adverse weather conditions and crippling losses during the past year. The fishing industry is extremely important to our Island, not only in economic terms but also by adding to our tourism offering and the culture of our Island. I am determined that government should show how valued the industry is by providing short-term relief to those affected and by undertaking a longer piece of work to look at exactly how we can help to support their future.”