Search

Fears for fishermen

PUBLISHED: 13:08 01 October 2008 | UPDATED: 10:28 07 July 2010

Inshore fishermen along the north Norfolk coast, including those at Wells, believe their livelihoods could be under threat if proposed changes to fishing regulations come into force.

Inshore fishermen along the north Norfolk coast, including those at Wells, believe their livelihoods could be under threat if proposed changes to fishing regulations come into force.

Now North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb is calling for urgent talks with the government's fisheries minister Jonathan Shaw so that the matter can be fully discussed.

Mr Lamb is demanding urgent action to look at the proposals following approaches made to him by inshore fishermen including those fishing out of Wells, Sheringham and Cromer.

Mr Lamb said: “I am horrified at the prospect of the fishing fleet at Wells and along the north Norfolk coast being decimated by these proposed changes.”

The changes, being proposed by Defra (Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) are subject to a public consultation period which ends tomorrow.

The concerns have been highlighted by Robin Harris who has fished out of Wells for the past six years. He claims the changes proposed will affect the under 10 metre class of fishing vessel which makes up the vast majority of the Wells fleet.

The new regulations, if introduced, would impose a 300 kg annual limit for a licence holder fishing for skate, rays, cod and sole. This limit would apply unless 300kg of the specified species had been caught during the qualifying period of October 2006 to January 2008.

The issue for the Wells fishermen is that most of them will be unable to prove they have caught the necessary quota during this period because they have been primarily catching crab and lobster.

Most of the north Norfolk inshore fishermen alternate their catch from year to year based on supply and the proposed changes to licensing regulations would inhibit fishermen from fishing certain species in the future.

Cromer fisherman John Davies said that the proposed changes threatened their livelihoods.

“The only way an inshore fisherman will be able to survive is by being flexible and it is this flexibility that is at risk,” said Mr Davies, who is also coxswain of Cromer lifeboat.

He said that effect of not being flexible was that it would have a detrimental affect on the value of their licences.

“An inshore fisherman needs to be flexible in what he can catch otherwise a certain amount of his livelihood will be taken away.

Mr Lamb is calling for urgent talks with Mr Shaw and hopes that representatives of the inshore fishermen will also attend.

“Fishermen adapt according to the supply of any particular fish or shellfish. This would mean that most of the fishermen in the local area would be subject to these severe restrictions and it is likely that many local boats will be put out of business.

Mr Lamb said he was deeply concerned, not only on the effects of this for local fishermen but the local economy of Wells generally.

“It is imperative that I meet with the government officials to discuss this immediately.”

A Defra spokesman said: “It is still at the proposal stage and people can still express their comments.”

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Fakenham and Wells Times

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists