Thomas Christiansen’s ‘Andrea Klitbo’ is one of the vessels selcted by the Danish Fisheries Agency to be fitted with surveillance cameras
Thomas Christiansen, is a Danish boat owner and skipper has been selected by the Danish Fisheries Agency to be one of fourteen fishing vessels fitted with surveillance cameras.
The fishing vessels have been chosen because they operate in the Kattegat, the area of sea between western Denmark and Sweden. It is the Danish Fisheries Agency’s aim to eventually have all fishing boats fitted with surveillance cameras by 2022.
The decision has angered Danish fishermen who believe that it is a regulation too far and an infringement on their human rights. This has led Thomas to write this letter addressing the fourteen fishing boat owners frustrations at the Danish Fisheries Agency’s decision to force Remote Electronic Monitoring such as CCTV on board ‘their’ workplace and second home.
By Thomas Christiansen – Norway Lobster (prawn, nephrops) fisherman and owner of fishing boat FN226 ‘Andrea Klitbo’, Læsø
A few weeks ago we received a letter with a heavy message. We have been selected to participate in the camera surveillance project in Kattegat. This means that we must have camera surveillance equipment fitted to our vessels by the end of the year. And we have to get used to being under constant surveillance as we look after our work. To put it bluntly: It’s really bondage. And we’re pretty tired of it all. That is why we ask our North Jutland representatives in the Folketing to speak our case and try to get the camera project killed.
There are many people talking about having a second home. For toddlers, the second home may be with the grandparents. For others it may be in the cottage. For us fishermen, there is no doubt where our second home is. It’s in our workplace. On our fishing vessel. It is important to understand if you want to understand our resistance to camera surveillance. Many of us spend more time on our craft than we do in our homes. Therefore, it is a tremendous measure that we now have to be monitored from the moment we leave from the quay until we add again.
We find that the decision on camera surveillance in the fishery has been made, without having thought from a political point of view how surveillance actually affects us fishermen. It smells like a desk exercise where the people it’s all about have been forgotten. That, we think, is too bad. For our eyes, there is no doubt that this will have major consequences for our working environment. And we are convinced that the vast majority of Danes, just like us, do not want to be monitored for their work.
It should be no secret that we have had a hard time calling up the political system. That is why we now write directly to our local representatives in the Parliament. Because we need you now. This is especially true of Marianne Jelved of Radical Left, Peder Hvelplund of the Unity List and Lisbeth Bech-Nielsen of the Socialist People’s Party. For it is your parties that are crucial to the government’s majority on this issue.
All three of you have come to the choice that there must continue to be jobs in North Jutland and a green and productive business world. The camera surveillance has already caused several of us to put our vessels up for sale because we cannot live with the surveillance and the suspicion. This can be expensive at the northern Jutland ports, where activity and employment are closely linked to fishing. That’s why we ask you to fight. If not for our sake. So for the sake of employment.
In return for your fight, we promise that we would rather than cooperate with the government on how we can develop fishing in an even more sustainable direction. We don’t think camera surveillance is the solution. No more fish come off. Everyone should be able to agree. And that is hugely intrusive to us. That is why we trust that you will help us out of this situation. For we are sure that solutions can be found that take both fishermen and our marine environment into account.