Fears grow for future of fishing communities – Fishupdate.com

Fears grow for future of fishing communities Published:  11 December, 2008

WARNINGS are growing that a campaign to ban fishing in 30 per cent of all grounds around the British coastline could have a devastating effect on fishing communities.

The proposals have come from the Co-operative and the Marine Conservation Society is calling on the UK Government to implement a plan to make up to a third of seas around the UK coastline into no fishing zones by 2020 to protect endangered habitats.They are demanding that their proposals be included in the Government’s recently published Marine Bill, and said it would help the sensitive environment recover from the ‘worryingly accelerating’ loss of biodiversity.

The West Country is one area most opposed. The plan has met with strong criticism from fishing organisations around the country and most notably from the South West Fish Producers’ Organisation, which said the impact to fishing communities in its own area would be very serious.

Its leader Jim Portus has said that the campaign has no scientific basis and says the industry is already very heavily regulated by different conservation measures. The best way forward was for the Government and scientists to continue working with the fishing fleets.

Yesterday, the Government announced a £5 million plan for fishing vessel owners with boats under 10 metres in length to take part in a decommissioning scheme in a bid to reduce inshore fishing effort and ensure a proper sustainable future, although some east coast fishing communities fear it could wipe out catching in those areas altogether.

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