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News Archive > General > French blamed in pots dispute

French blamed in pots dispute

By Warren Wilkins 22nd August 2018

French blamed in pots dispute

NEWQUAY fishermen have come into conflict with French trawlers which they claim are responsible for dozens of their crab pots worth thousands of pounds going missing over the weekend.

Martin Gilbert, one of three local fishermen who have lost valuable equipment, alleges the French trawlers dragged the pots out the away so they can put out their nets. The Newquay fishermen are now trying to locate the missing pots, which they believe could be on the seabed.

Mr Gilbert, who owns the 33-foot Serene, states he has personally lost 50 crab pots worth £3,000, after around 10 French trawlers turned up to fish around the Newquay coastline.

He says local fishermen are now counting the cost despite a gentlemen’s agreement being in place whereby  French and Cornish fishermen stay away from each others’ equipment. Mr Gilbert says the loss has made a bad year for fishing even worse following the cold spell earlier in the year.

Fishermen from other local ports, including Padstow, have also allegedly suffered at the hands of the French trawlers.

Mr Gilbert said: “Newquay fishermen have come into conflict with French trawlers who have been throwing our crab pots away.

“What they have been doing is towing the crab pots out of the way so they can make room to drag their nets.

“Three boats in Newquay have been clobbered and a Padstow boat had 150 crab pots dragged away.

“Those responsible are big 85-foot French company boats who have no regard for anyone else in the ocean.

“The French trawlers have dragged the pots so far away we cannot find them as they cut the buoys off.

“Unfortunately it happens when we are not at sea during the night and when it’s windy.

“The French trawlers have a tracking system on their boats but they turn it off at night so there is no way of proving it’s them.

“We ask but they lie but it’s definitely the French trawlers. They have been fishing alongside us.
“There is an understanding that the French fishermen keep away from our crab pots and we stay away from theirs, but they encroach on our pots all the time.

“It is getting worse year on year. We are losing more and more pots to French trawlers who are coming this way.

“It is getting beyond a joke. It is making a bad year even worse – because of the cold spell the crabs have not come. Fishing is down 30%.”

Newquay fisherman Phil Trebilcock added: “Several French trawlers have turned up over the weekend and caused a few problems for a couple of Newquay boats and a Padstow boat.

“Several pots are missing and it is time consuming trying to retrieve them from the bottom – if they are there.”

Mr Gilbert believes Brexit will help the issue of their crab pots going missing.

“I think Brexit will help as the French trawlers will not be able to come within a 12-mile limit so our pots will be safe,” he said.

“We will still be able to export our crabs to France after Brexit. There will be no problems at all. It’s all fairytales about the problems people say will arise.”

By Warren Wilkins 22nd August 2018

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