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Cod quota best news in 20 years

PUBLISHED: 15:39 20 December 2008 | UPDATED: 12:36 03 July 2010

GREAT Yarmouth's last two full-time fishermen yesterday welcomed the EU's decision to raise cod quotas by 30pc - describing it as "the best news for the industry in the past 20 years".

GREAT Yarmouth's last two full-time fishermen yesterday welcomed the EU's decision to raise cod quotas by 30pc - describing it as “the best news for the industry in the past 20 years”.

Brothers Richard and Jason Clarke last year became a national symbol of the industry's decline when it emerged that the port's once great fishing fleet had dwindled to one full-time boat, their 32ft vessel Eventide.

Following the announcement of the biggest increase in North Sea cod quotas for two decades, the fourth generation fishermen yesterday predicted the news might even encourage others to return to the industry.

Richard, 37, said: “It has come as a huge relief and is what we have been calling for. Whichever fishermen you talk to up and down the coast, they will all tell you there has been a big increase in cod - and they are of all sizes, from a few centimetres to 20 to 30lb, which is a sign of a healthy stock.”

He firmly believes the increase is down to natural cycles and nothing to do with the imposition of quotas to protect stocks.

Because of the present tight quotas, the brothers were able to catch four tonnes of cod in January, February and March but have been restricted to about 50kg a month in the latter half of the year.

Richard said: “For 2009, we will be able to catch more cod throughout the whole year. This year, we have had to do more potting for crabs and skate fishing to make a reasonable living.”

The brothers, who have also seen the fishing fleet in neighbouring Lowestoft go into massive decline, said they were now sufficiently confident to even think about replacing their boat in the next five years.

Richard said: “This has created a positive vibe in the fishing industry. There are even people talking about coming back into the industry to have another go.”

The EU officials have also increased mackerel quota by 31pc but herring quotas have come down 15pc.

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