Protect Filey's fishing heritage
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For generations, the North Yorkshire coast has been home to vibrant fishing communities. Fishing has shaped towns and coastlines, offered careers to local families, provided delicious, sustainable food, and contributed hugely to local tourism.
These coastal fisheries are small-scale, low-impact and working hard to protect the environment they depend upon.
In Filey, the fishery is down to just seven small-scale, artisanal boats. Fishermen have inherited their licenses from their fathers, and want to pass them on to their children and grandchildren. But all of this is at risk due to new proposed regulations from the Environment Agency (EA).
The EA is working to protect salmon stocks in the area, which are under pressure. Some salmon are caught by these small, commercial boats, but many more are caught by anglers - who fish the spawning grounds for the salmon along river beds. The EA is proposing to drastically reduce fishing opportunities for the remaining commerical fishermen in Filey, and along the whole North Yorkshire coast. Eventually, the plan is to remove licenses from these fishermen entirely.
All fishermen - whether at sea or in-land - want to make sure there are plenty of salmon for future generations. To protect stocks, boats in Filey have been voluntarily releasing salmon throughout the months of April and May for over a decade, and they focus their commercial operation entirely on catching sea trout. They have voluntarily captured data on all fish they catch, reduced the length of their nets, and only fish for 5 months of the year.
Per year, the average catch of salmon by this small commercial fleet is just 157 fish. In comparison, the catch of sea trout is over 4,600 fish. This valuable, sustainable sea trout fishery will be completely eliminated by the EA's proposals.
We believe the EA should work with the local fishermen to find a solution that is sustainable for the community, as well as the environment - and not put an end to generations of fishing heritage in local Yorkshire communities. Fishermen want to be part of the solution: let them be!
With a new spotlight on UK fishing due to Brexit, this government should not allow small-scale, low-impact, sustainable fishing businesses to go out of operation - with a huge impact on local families and businesses - when alternative options exist.
Protect the fishing heritage of the North Yorkshire coast.
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