One less threat to fishermen

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Rye Harbour caters for working boats as well as leisure craft

Last week, Friday June 22, Rye News published an article about a consultation with local fishermen who were worried about changes concerning fishing in the bay.
However a separate, and possibly worse, threat has been removed as there was a meeting on June 13 between local MP Amber Rudd and Interim Parliamentary Secretary of State for the Environment Minister David Rutley, in which he assured her that Rye Bay is no longer included in a Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ) on which consultations are now taking place.
MCZs are a national environmental initiative from the Environment Department, DEFRA, which could result in a number of conservation zones all round our coastline. But they may result in fishermen from an MCZ moving to nearby areas which are not conserved – such as Rye Bay.
The Chair of the Harbour of Rye Advisory Committee (HORAC),  Alec Stanmore, said: “HORAC warmly welcomes the Minister’s decision that Rye Bay will not be included in the final list of MCZ consultation.
“It is of enormous significance to the East Sussex economy and local employment, the safeguard of which has been of the highest priority for HORAC for the last three years. It will be a huge relief to the 32 vessels that make up the Rye Bay fishing fleet. their crews and families and the business they support.”
The Minister, David Rutley, explained: “Our MCZs are carefully selected to protect our precious sea life ensuring  our fishing communities remain sustainable in the long term. The decision not to put forward Rye Harbour was made after listening thoroughly to all groups affected and representation from MP Amber Rudd, taking on board the best available scientific evidence.”
MP Amber Rudd, a staunch supporter of the fishing community in Rye and Hastings for some time now responded: “I am delighted with the announcement that the local fishery is not included in the third tranche of MCZ consultation (which ends on July 20), following concerns raised to Government.”
However, while one threat has been removed, there are concerns about the current and separate IFCA (the Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority – a government agency) consultation , which could lead to controls on near shore fishing and push smaller vessels out of the market as they cannot safely work too far from the shore.
Too much fishing, or the wrong sort of fishing, on the other hand may affect breeding grounds and the long term size and sustainability of the potential catch.
Larger vessels could be affected as well though as bad weather can force vessels to fish much closer to shore.
European Community quotas are therefore not the only problem facing local fishermen – who also now often have to cope with the plague of plastic caught up in their nets.

Photo: Rye News Library

Image Credits: Rye News library .

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