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Fisherman slates States members

Posted Sun 29th August 2010 at 16:38

Fisherman Ray Gaudion has branded Alderney's current States the worst ever.

Mr Gaudion, president of Alderney Fishing Vessels Owners' Organisation, has accused island politicians of failing to listen to local anglers over plans to introduce new fisheries legislation.

"I am absolutely disgusted that the States is discussing the most traditional industry with outsiders - and even listening to them," said Mr Gaudion, who is planning to stand for the States at this year's election.

"I will not have outsiders who know nothing about our industry sticking their noses in and telling us what we can and can't do. The people who died for Alderney, whose names are on the cenotaph, didn't die for this.

"We used to have States members who listened to us. In 1967 when we had a problem with pots, there was a law within three weeks. These days they don't even have the decency to reply to letters. We sent one 18 months ago and still haven't had a response."

Angry Mr Gaudion added: "They're a bunch of wimps. Everyone says this is the worst States they've ever known and I totally agree. The members need to start listening to people before they make decisions."

Mr Gaudion was especially scathing about a fisheries questionnaire which was issued by the States earlier this month.

"The States hasn't sent the questionnaire to any local commercial fisherman. People in England have got one but we haven't. What's wrong with the rest of us? It's our livelihoods they're dealing with."

Mr Gaudion is calling for a 10m restriction on vessels to protect local fish stocks.

"Some English boat owners are raiding our shores and they think can get away with anything. The laws need to be brought in now."

Mr Gaudion is also concerned the States will limit local fishermen's netting areas.

He said: "If they do make restrictions on netting in our shores I wonder how long it will take for some families to go hungry."

In a joint statement, General Services Committee (GSC) members John Beaman and Boyd Kelly said a consultation document had been posted online before hard copies were sent out. They said meetings with legal advisors were due to take place.

The members added: "The world has changed substantially since 1967 and expectations are somewhat different. A consultation process into possible changes that affect people is one of those expectations. Alderney waters are legally part of the British Sea Fisheries area and as such are lawfully fished by a number of licensed fishermen. We have been advised that not to include such license holders in the consultation process would render any changes we make to protect our fishing stocks open to challenge. To avoid this we have enlarged the list of consultees. We are sure Mr Gaudion would not wish us to risk incurring legal cost for the sake of four weeks and we look forward to meeting with him and his colleagues within the next month."

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