The huge trawler named Cornelis Vrolijk – which operates out of Amsterdam’s huge port – became the centre of debate around EU fisheries laws after the startling revelation. The trawler is one of the largest in Europe: a mighty 370ft long, capable of hauling in 150 tons of herring and mackerel at a time. The boat helped the Dutch family make a significant profit – but its fish were caught in UK waters. Astonishingly, it was reported in 2014 that Cornelis Vrolijk held 23 percent of the entire English quota.
Meanwhile, fishermen in the UK told the Daily Mail they had struggled under the existing laws – and also expressed frustration at the sizeable share the Dutch trawler had enjoyed.
Paul Moralis, a crewman on the Jack Henry, said: “I feel so frustrated by this. I want to buy my granddaughter presents for Christmas but it’s very difficult.”
On the Cornelis Vrolijk, he added: “I’d like to sink that damn boat.”
However, the blame for this rested with Brussels.
Dave Cuthbert, a Plymouth skipper and co-chairman of a campaign group called New Under Ten Fishermen’s Association, said at the time that the Common Fisheries Policy had restricted British boats.
He added: “With small fleets you can only fish what is on your doorstep so it must be sustainable.
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Moreover, small-scale vessels – those under ten metres (30ft) in length – did not have to record landings at the time.
So although making up more than three-quarters of the British fishing fleet, they were belatedly given just four percent of the national quota.
Meanwhile, the Cornelis Vrolijk ended up with a huge portion of the English quota because its owner had two big trawlers with high historic catches when quotas were first awarded.