New EU rules ‘could sink us’ say traditional fishermen

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TRADITIONAL fishing from Yorkshire beaches is being endangered by new EU regulations, says an MP.

There are now just five fishermen fishing off the beaches in Holderness, netting salmon in the summer and sea bass in the winter.

But they fear that the coming sea bass season will be blighted by the imposition of new rules, increasing minimum landing sizes for the fish.

Their MP, Graham Stuart has written to Fisheries Minister George Eustice seeking special dispensation for the fishermen from the new rules.

EU member states recently voted for increase from 36cm to 42cm, to encourage the recovery of stocks, following a 20 per cent decline in numbers over the past ten years.

But the five fear their businesses may no longer be viable after the regulation come into force this September.

They have already been hampered by new bylaws requiring them to attend their nets at all times.

Onshore fisherman Shaun Wingham welcomed his MP’s support.

Mr Wingham, 61, from Withernsea, who has been fishing on and off for more than three decades, said: “It’s not a vast amount of years I have left, but I would like to carry on.

“They want rid of us that’s what it is. There’s enough hardship with the job as it is, what with the seals taking the fish, the campers pinching your fish and now this.”

Mr Stuart said:“The Holderness on-shore net fishermen have been fishing in this sustainable manner for centuries; they are part of our local culture and heritage which we treasure and wish to see continue long into the future.

“These regulations would be extremely damaging not just to their businesses but to the economy of the whole area.

“It is vital that we get a special dispensation for these local fishermen so that this traditional fishing method can continue.

“I understand the need to conserve the sea bass population. However the small scale of the Holderness on-shore fishery would mean that a local dispensation would not prevent a recovery in numbers more broadly.

“It would be a tragedy to lose this industry from our coastline and I intend to take this issue to Ministers and press them to safeguard this important part of our fishing heritage for future generations.”