Fishermen’s Association Lobbying Westminster Over Restrictions

The chairman of our islands’ Fishermen’s Association is travelling to Westminster today to tackle the Fisheries Minister over proposed restrictions for vessels under 10 metres.

Robert Francis will meet with Richard Beynon MP to ask him to rethink plans to limit commercial fishing in the new conservation area around Scilly.

The Government proposals aim to protect fish stocks but our islands’ fishermen claim they are self–policing, responsible and aware of the risks of overfishing.

Our MP Andrew George echoes that sentiment and says our inshore fishermen have the lowest impact on the marine environment but are the most regulated adding that the UK authorities have few powers to police fishing waters past the 6 mile limit.

He said “It’s always the local fishermen that get penalised.”

The MP believes Scilly’s boats don’t have the power to do the damage of larger vessels and many fishermen make a living from simple hand lines, which is a low-impact fishing method. Andrew is fearful that any more regulation could be the last straw and put many fishermen out of business.

Any regulatory change affecting vessels under 10 metres in length would impact on the majority of our 30 registered fishermen on the islands, according to the Council’s Maritime Officer, Steve Watt.