Devon fishing dismay, but Humber relief at coastguard decision –

Devon fishing dismay, but Humber relief at coastguard decision Published:  15 July, 2011

Brixham Harbour

DEVON fishermen has expressed dismay that the vital coastguard station at Brixham is to close.  The round the clock centre at the busy fishing port  was not included in those that have been saved.

But there was relief on the Humber, another important fishing area that its coastguard base are among those that have been saved. The Humber looks after ports such as Bridlington and Whitby, busy shell fishing centres, and Grimsby but it also covers an area from the Wash to the Scottish border.

Transport Secretary Phillip Hammond announced yesterday that he was scaling back his closure plans and there would continue to be eight full time coastguard stations, at Falmouth, Holyhead, Milford Haven, Belfast, Aberdeen, Humber, Stornaway and Shetland. The number of centres had been set to be reduced from 18 to eight, with only three remaining open 24 hours a day.The eight centres that will be shut by 2014 are Clyde, Forth, Portland, Liverpool, Yarmouth, Brixham, Thames and Swansea.

The original proposals were criticised in a report by the House of Commons transport committee, which said evidence it had received during its inquiry into coastguards had raised “serious concerns that safety will be jeopardised if these proposals proceed”.

Mr Hammond said: “”Our updated proposals will ensure the safety of seafarers and coastal communities, delivering the modernised and more cost-effective service we need for the 21st Century.”

But Rick Smith, from Brixham Trawler Agents, told BBC Devon last night: “I think it’s an absolute disaster – I don’t think they’ve thought about this hard enough.I think the impact will be mainly around the shore. Deep sea you can do it from a remote system but around the shore, local knowledge is absolutely paramount.” He said that in addition to the fishing fleet,, the area also attracted many people who went out boating.