Rumbling in the Sussex Fisheries

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Possible changes to local fisheries

On Wednesday, June 20, at 3pm there was an informal consultation organised by Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (IFCA) which was intended to gather views from the fishing community and other stakeholders on the future management of near shore  trawling within the Sussex IFCA District.
It was at the back of the Community Centre in Conduit Hill and, though it was not widely advertised, the fisherman in the Wednesday morning Farmers Market down at Strand Quay said that he and others had tried to get as many to come to the consultation as possible and have their say.
By the time I left, about 3.15, there were over twenty people waiting. Interestingly, the IFCA representatives only let in two or three at a time to have a look at the plans (shown above) and hear explanations and speak to them instead of hiring a bigger room so everybody could discuss them with a panel – which was what I was expecting.
One IFCA man explained that each year the conservation by-laws of the near shore trawl fisheries had to be reviewed.
“Sussex IFCA is proposing to review the existing mobile gear bye-law” he said “and manage near shore trawling fisheries on a zonal basis (as shown above).
“We have divided up the district according to its geographical nature and the proposed management will be to exclude trawling fishing activities from near shore areas in order to protect valuable sensitive habitats. The exclusion boundaries will be decided for each zone to reflect the habitat distribution and needs of the habitats.

Rye fishing fleet at Simmonds Quay

“Specifically the objectives are to protect sensitive habitats which the fish utilise for breeding and nursery ground life stages, and to balance the exploitation of resources by netting, mobile gear (trawl) fisheries, and recreational sea anglers.”
This excerpt is from the IFCA hand out which was available for everyone with a questionnaire for responses at the back. The fear, of course, for the fishermen is that it will destroy their industry along the coast and the business they have built up over many years.
Anyone who would like to get more facts should go to sussex-ifca.gov.uk, and see the information given in the consultations section and, if they wish to support the local fishing industry, they should go and talk to the fishermen.
[Editor-in-chief’s note: This consultation is likely to get a strong reaction from fishermen, who have actively supported BREXIT and leaving European controls and have recently been protesting about any continuation of Europe’s quota system, as these consultations are about UK controls on close-to-shore fishing which could and would affect what is left of our fishing industry]

Photo: Rye News library, Map: IFCA

Image Credits: Kenneth Bird .

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