“Now enough is enough! No thanks for camera surveillance”.

That is the message from over 300 fishermen who gathered in Aalborg, Denmark was giving to their government yesterday, Friday 31 January.

“Now enough is enough! No thanks for camera surveillance” read one protest banner that hung on one fishing boat. A sentiment echoed by all the fishers and their supporters who gathered in Aalborg Harbour.

“We are fishermen – not criminals” read another banner on the harbour. The opposition to the surveillance cameras on fishing boats has come about as governments across the EU look at ways of enforcing the  Landing Obligation .

A report last week from the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) believed that they could confirm that non-compliance with the landing obligation has been widespread in the North Sea and North Western Waters for specific fisheries during an evaluation period between 2015 and 2017.

In the UK, CCTV cameras has also been muted by the UK Government as suggested by  Lord Teverson who worked on the report. In his address to the House of Lords he said “The way people have acted has not changed.” 

The addition of surveillance on board fishing vessels around the EU fleet is considered by many as a step too far and has led to disquiet amongst the majority of fishermen. Governments cannot see any other way of enforcing the Discard Ban and believe that it is the ultimate solution to a reoccuring problem.

In Aalborg, up to 40 fishermen are participating in protest action, because new rules on camera surveillance have seriously inflamed the fishermen’s anger.

“Over the past few years we have been charged one rule after another. We have adapted to the changing quota bases, and have continued to work under working conditions that are becoming difficult from year to year. But with the prospect of being monitored with a camera, we have reached the limit of what we can and will find ourselves in. We have had enough.” fisherman Thomas Christiansen, spokesperson for the fishermen who participated in the Aalborg Protest said in a press release.

“On Friday morning, the country’s fishermen will gather at the Aalborg Congress & Culture Center for a grand meeting organized by the Danish Fisheries Association. Here, the new topic of camera surveillance on ships in the Kattegat is the big topic. The Minister of Fisheries Mogens Jensen and the Folketing’s food committees are invited to the meeting.

“We hope that Fisheries Minister Mogens Jensen will listen to reason. The fishing has had enough! Enough of the constant suspicion of our profession. Enough of politicians who promise gold and green forests. Enough of constant accusations of cheating. And enough of officials and politicians who, without listening to the fishery, make decisions that affect the fishermen’s everyday life and their desire to look after their work,” concluded Christiansen,.

At a Danish Fish Producers Organisation meeting after the protest on Friday, DFPO Chairman, Svend-Erik Andersen, told the attending members “On behalf of the fishermen, I would like to ask you (the government) to think carefully before you start experimenting with the profession. Dear Minister, look around. They may look brusque, but the fishermen are nervous and worried. We cannot understand why we should be embarrassed in Denmark. Some have come to realise that they are ready to leave the profession. That’s the drop.

“The Board of Directors and members of the Danish Fisheries Organisation strongly distance themselves from the camera – it is the Danish one-off and over-implementation of fisheries control, and it must be clear to everyone why Danish fishermen say stop instead of firing the politicians’ latest inventions.

Therefore, they have now also issued a statement “The Danish fishermen say no to the camera!”

 

Source: https://nordjyske.dk/ and  the Danish Fish Producers Organisation