Fishermen warn Jersey's marine industry 'cannot survive' without assistance

Jersey's fishing industry is at risk as long-standing fishermen leave the job, saying they simply 'cannot survive anymore'.

In the last few years, the fleet has dropped from around 60 to 30 boats and some have even moved to the UK where they can make more money.

Fishermen blame ongoing tensions with France over licences and the rising cost of bait and fuel for the industry now reaching 'crisis point'.

The Fishermen's Association is now calling on Jersey's Economic Development Minister to provide them with immediate financial help.

They say the French have an unfair advantage, as they are already receiving subsidies from their government to help cover the rising cost of fuel.

Gibby Gordon stopped fishing in August due to financial pressures. He said: "It just got to a point where it wasn't working.

"With the cost of getting into the industry, it's no wonder that no-one wants to come into it. Something needs to be done to make it more financially viable for young people because, otherwise, as the old boys retire, there will be no fishing industry left over here."

Fisherman Jason Bonhomme added: "It is a way of life, this isn't a job, it takes a certain kind of person to do a certain kind of job and to be a fisherman you have to have a different mindset to a land worker.

"It makes you what you are, the sea makes you what you are, we're not made for the land."

In a statement, Deputy Kirsten Morel, Jersey's Economic Development Minister said:

"The challenges faced by the fishing industry are well known and, through the Marine Economy Advisory Group (MEAG), we are bringing together Jersey’s commercial fishermen, aquaculture producers and merchants, to work together on an overarching marine economy strategy.

"The group will be meeting again in the near future to continue working towards the shared vision of Jersey having a vibrant and sustainable marine sector, providing employment and economic opportunity, and maintaining fisheries and aquaculture as an integral part of the island’s cultural identity."