Fisheries minister George Eustice said new quotas “must get the balance right” when he visited Newlyn in West Cornwall to talk to fishing leaders in the run up to impending changes to quotas and other regulations.
Mr Eustice is responsible for government policy on fishing and said he was keen to talk to the people effected by his decisions.
The Camborne and Redruth MP, whose family own Trevaskis Farm near Hayle, toured Newlyn fish market early on Tuesday morning as mackerel fishermen returned from a night’s fishing.
And he spoke to Cornish Fish Producers Organisation chief executive Paul Trebilcock before boarding the Fisheries Protection Vessel St Piran bound for Scilly.
Mr Eustice said: “I’ve wanted for some time to come and meet representatives of the Cornish fishing fleet but I’ve also had an invitation from the Isles of Scilly to talk about fishing issues they’ve got and also to see work on the Marine Conservation Zone that we have declared around the islands.
“This is my second visit to Newlyn, I came back in January when we put in place the gear replacement scheme to help fishermen who had lost pots in the winter storms. “I also wanted to talk to fishing leaders about the December council to talk about quotas.
“It’s a challenging area and there is also the discard ban that takes effect next year.”
In December 2013 the Government helped secure a ban on the discards – the practice of forcing fishermen to throw away good fish if they had exceeded their quota.
The discard ban for pelagic fish – like the mackerel being landed at Newlyn on Tuesday morning – starts on January 1. Other fish discards will be banned 12 months later.
Another agreement was that fish quotas themselves – designed to stop over-fishing of fish species believed to be running low – could be set regionally using credible scientific advice.
However, many fishermen say the advice the Government is getting does not tally with their own experiences.
Mr Eustice said: “I know that that is causing some concern and we need to make sure that when we set these quotas we have the right information.
“We always have to be really clear that if you over fish from stocks that are in a bad way you are robbing fishermen of their long term future.”