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View Full Version : Fishermen warn against new Welsh protection zones



Davie Tait
30th January 2011, 11:57
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-12316446

Fishermen in west Wales have urged the assembly government not to introduce tougher marine conservation zones.

The fishermen told The Politics Show Wales their already fragile industry has never been in a worst state.

But the Marine Conservation Society argues that the new zones might actually benefit the industry.

Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones said she wanted a balance of "a sustainable source of fish and also a sustainable environment for our wildlife".

Fenton Duke, a fisherman with 35 years' experience, who dredges for oysters in the Milford Haven waterway, said he would have to stop or relocate if the area becomes one of the new protected zones.

"It's more rules and regulations," he said.
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“Start Quote

The problem is the more areas that get closed down, everyone starts fishing on top of one another, and that causes a lot of problems”

End Quote Fenton Duke Milford Haven fisherman

"The problem is the more areas that get closed down, everyone starts fishing on top of one another, and that causes a lot of problems. It's getting harder now, just to run a boat is so expensive.

"The prices for crab and lobster, they're 20 years old, it's getting ridiculous."

Later this year, the assembly government will launch a consultation on plans to create three or four marine conservation zones. The idea is to allow marine life and the sea bed to flourish, but it would mean a complete ban on fishing within the zone.

Heavier fish

However, the Marine Conservation Society said the new zones could lead to the growth of larger and heavier fish, which would be available to catch outside the "no take" areas.

Blaise Bullimore, a spokesman for the Marine Conservation Society, insisted that ministers should prioritise these zones.
Fishermen About three-quarters of the Welsh coast has a degree of protection status

"What we're talking about is closure of very small areas," he said.

"There is the issue of displacement, yes, fishermen may well have to move from an area to an adjacent area but it doesn't mean the whole area around the coast will have to close, certainly not."

The society not only supports the zones, but is disappointed the assembly government is not considering even more.

There are about 400 boats still working in Welsh waters, and Jerry Percy, chief executive of New Under Ten Fishermens' Association (NUTFA), which represents the crews of smaller fishing boats in England and Wales, said the already fragile fishing industry in Wales had never been in a worse state.
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We all want an eco-system which provides our fishermen with a sustainable source of fish and also a sustainable environment for our wildlife”

End Quote Elin Jones Rural Affairs Minister

"The problem is the catch is certainly reducing and so are the prices. Almost 90% of our catch is exported to Europe - their economic situation isn't good, so the industry is on something of a knife-edge."

Mr Percy said his members were already fishing in a sustainable way with a big emphasis on shellfish and the new zones would be a risk not worth taking.

He said there were "massive problems with jobs in Wales" and several workers supported every fisherman out on a boat in such areas as engineering, transport and retail.

Ms Jones told the Politics Show that 75% of the Welsh coastline had some type of protected status, but Wales and the rest of the UK had to introduce areas with higher protection to meet international obligations.

"We need to take on board the views of fishermen before any final designation of highly-protected zones is taken," said the minister.

"We are keen to ensure that socio-economic factors are part of our criteria for the designation of highly-protected marine zones."

Ms Jones said she aimed to strike a balance: "We all want an eco-system which provides our fishermen with a sustainable source of fish and also a sustainable environment for our wildlife."

The first consultation into the zones is expected to take place this summer.

The Politics Show is on BBC One at noon on Sunday.