Marine officers ensuring coast’s fishing future

Senior Marine Officer Rachel Hanbury, talks about the fishing industry. Picture Richard Ponter140224d
Senior Marine Officer Rachel Hanbury, talks about the fishing industry. Picture Richard Ponter140224d

With new offices located in Eastfield, near Scarborough, the Marine Management Organisation is keeping a close eye on the east coast fishery.

Rachel Hanbury is a senior marine officer at the MMO and divides her time between the region’s harbours and the organisation’s Eastfield base.

Her role includes inspecting fishing vessels at sea and in port, as well as premises, fish markets and other locations around the coast.

The organisation offers advice on a range of matters, including grants for fishermen, awarding millions of pounds a year to the industry.

Rachel’s days tend to start early, with the fish market getting under way at around 6.30am.

Rachel explains: “It’s a good opportunity to see the fishermen – they much prefer talking to us face to face.

“But I come down for various reasons – to have a look at what’s being caught, so we know what’s out there and what isn’t.

“We also got legal obligations to look at things such as minimum landing sizes. We also look at prices, which can be affected by so many things.

“It just gives us a bigger picture of what’s going on.”

The MMO also administers the quota for under 10m vessels, holding regular quota surgeries. Rachel said: “It’s a good opportunity for people to say what they want and when they want it.

“It’s important that we work closely and I really enjoy working with the fishermen.”

Rachel is also present at landings – which can be at any time of day or night – to enforce legislation.

The MMO works with fishermen on the issue of discards – the practice of throwing dead fish back into the sea when quotas have been met.

Rachel explained that a catch quota trial has been taking place in Scarborough which involves the use of CCTV on boats.

She said: “We’re looking at what’s being caught and what would normally be thrown back, as they have to land what they would normally discard.

“It’s to make sure they’re not getting too tight on their quotas. We finding out some interesting stuff and skippers seem to like it.”

Rachel, who has been in her current role for the last three years, says she believes in the importance of her role and that the organisation is doing good work to ensure the future of the fishing industry.

She added: “There are young people coming into the industry, like those at the Whitby Fishing School, and we need to make sure there’s something for them to fish.

“It’s about sustainable fishing and protecting the marine environment.”