This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.

although at a political level there’s a suggestion that the recovery is ongoing. “It would be good, in an ideal world, if we had a common position with Guernsey toward the UK,” explains Constable Norman.

Staying afloat Although Guernsey got its fingers burned once, Chris Morris explains that this hasn’t put them off bringing back a similar licensing system. “We’re looking to reinstate a licensing control in the three- to 12-mile limit and are currently in negotiations with the UK Government,” he says. Naturally, because of the problems with

the last regime, Jersey’s fishermen are keen to know what’s going on in Guernsey’s negotiations, and Chris Morris says that they “will be consulting with Jersey, but at an appropriate stage in the negotiations on the FMA”. There’s no doubt the Channel Islands

are supportive of their fishing industries, and this may be because they deliver a lot more than the simple value of their catches. “For every person employed afloat, they say 11 are employed ashore,” says Dougal Lane. However, there are challenges on many

fronts, not least the issue of rising fuel prices. “Fossil fuels are the industry’s weakness,” says Lane. “The price is killing us, and as the supermarkets push the price of food down every day, our costs are only going up.” The islands have two answers to this

problem, one focuses on delivering quality and the other on adaptability. Jersey’s lobster fishery was recently granted ‘sustainable fishery status’ from the Marine Stewardship Council, and as a bass fisherman, Lane receives 25 per cent more for delivering the highest grade of fish to French markets. Constable Norman believes that sustainability is an area where the government

has a key role to play. “Our job is to help them [the fishermen] make sure stocks are preserved and that the industry isn’t over regulated,” he explains. Fishing will never be easy, but with the

threats posed by the EU and fuel prices, the ability to adapt to new conditions could prove to be the fishermen’s greatest quality. And as Constable Norman is happy to highlight, fishermen in the Channel Islands have another good reason to be lauded. “The industry’s strength is undoubtedly

the guys who go out in many weathers. It’s a heroic way of life – they put their lives at risk to bring us this wonderful produce of the sea,” he says. There’s no doubt that these words hold true in both islands, whatever their differences may be. l

KIRSTEN MOREL is on the editorial board

Channel Island fisheries: a brief history

GIVEN THE influence of the marine environment on such small islands, it will come as no surprise that the history of Channel Island fishing goes back for millennia. Evidence of oyster fishing has been found at La Hougue Bie,

Jersey, a 4,000-year-old Neolithic grave, and in Guernsey there’s evidence of fishing from 6500BC. However, the first documented evidence of an actual trade in fish comes from the 13th century, and by the 14th century, documents in Jersey show 25 per cent of all customs revenue was generated by fisheries. The real boom began in the 17th century when Jersey in particular became a major player in the North Atlantic cod fishery. By the 19th century, one Jersey company was taking the plaudits and much of the money – Robin, Pipon and Co grew to such a size that it was described as being ‘the best syndicated business in

54 October/November 2011

North America directed to a single definite end’ after the Hudson Bay Co. The 19th century also saw the rise and fall of the oyster fishery off Jersey’s east coast which led to the development of many of the small harbours still around the island. Although fisheries diminished during the 20th century,

the islands’ fishermen have constantly adapted and sought new markets. Guernsey developed a strong scallop trade to the US, which peaked in the 1970s. And according to Don Thompson, President of the Jersey Fishermen’s Association: “Jersey fishermen were at the forefront of developing the offshore crab and lobster fishery.” They successfully developed ‘vivier’ boats, which kept the catch

fresh while at sea and enabled the fleet to travel as far as the north of Scotland.


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84