Fisherman could close business after society rejects membership bids
- Credit: Jake Wright
A fisherman may have to close his firm after being refused membership into a local fishing society.
Jake Wright, who runs Norfolk Sea Fishing Trips and Charter, says he has been rejected by the Brancaster Staithe Fishermen's Society for five years.
His dual business sees him offer fishing trips to the public and operate a commercial fishing boat with three crew members.
But being refused entry into the society means he cannot access the commercial side of the village's harbour, known as Fishermen's Quay.
This newspaper was unable to reach the society but, in a letter to Mr Wright, honorary secretary George Perry gave reasons for the exclusion.
He said: "The committee asked me to explain the reasoning behind their decision . . . your behaviour towards certain committee members and [the] society in general has been confrontational and a constant cause of animosity.”
In response, Mr Wright, who lives in Brancaster Staithe, said: "I can't deny we have had arguments, but over the quay which they [the society] seem to think is their own private moorings.
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“If we can use the quay, there's no issue. This is not an adequate reason to put four people out of work."
As it stands, the 25-year-old is fishing on the public side of the harbour, which is prompting safety concerns.
Victoria Egan, the National Trust's general manager for the Norfolk coast, said: “For safety reasons, large commercial boats should be moored away from the main harbour access point, where smaller pleasure craft launch from.
“To help us manage the harbour safely, a specific part of the harbour is leased to fishermen. This allows their larger vessels to be moored and allows them to safely unload their catch or restock.
“Only members of the Fishermen's Society are entitled to use the quay. The society is independent of the National Trust and we respect their right to decide who they grant membership to."
Mr Wright now fears he will have to cease activity by the end of September.
He added: "I’m very concerned and worried. This is all I've ever done so, if I have to stop, I don't know what I'm going to do.
"The fishing is not just my biggest source of income, but for three others who work on the boat all-year-round. This needs sorting so we can carry on earning a living."