Adverse weather taking its toll on fishermen

Echo: Bad time for fishermen like Paul Gilson Bad time for fishermen like Paul Gilson

FISHERMEN say they have not put to sea for three months because of adverseweather and falling fish stocks.

High rainfall over the winter has caused a surge of freshwater in the Thames Estuary, which has diluted the salty water and caused fish to migrate to other areas.

In addition, frequent stormy spells have made conditions too hazardous for trawlers.

Leigh fisherman Paul Gilson said: “There has been massive amounts of fresh water coming down the river and the fish have just disappeared.

“Salt water fish don’t like fresh water. It’s being bad since the end of November. Opportunities to fish have been negligible.

“Since December, low pressure has been coming through at such a rate there hasn’t been time between depressions to work.

“It would be flat for a few hours, but you couldn’t get to sea because another gale would be on the way. Many boats haven’t had a day’s work in three months. Some have only just had their first couple of trips out.”

The Environment Agency said it could be another week before the water returns to normal.

Spokesman Dave Ferguson said: “It is down to high rainfall recently.

There is still a lot of floodwater travelling down the Thames and pushing more fresh water into the estuary than normal.

“Our sympathies are with the fishermen who have been affected as a result of rainfall in recent months. It will take some days for rainfall in the Thames to flush through the system.”

The weather has caused hardship for fishermen around the country and has prompted the Government to step in to help.

Funding will be made available towards the cost of replacing lost or damaged fishing gear, such as crab and lobster pots and other static gear, which could be worth up to £5,000 to fishermen.

There will also be flexibility on quota allocations to allow fishermen to make up lost income when conditions return to normal, and access to a £10million business support grant for flood-affected businesses.

Fisheries Minister George Eustice said: “The storms over the last fewmonths have had a severe impact on fishing communities and we recognise that many fishermen have lost static net gear, such as lobster and crab pots.”

Comments (3)

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1:36pm Tue 11 Mar 14

iknowbetter says...

There are plenty of small whiting and Codling in the Thames right now. Failing fish stocks are nothing to do with fresh water, its down to over fishing.
Cod spawn this time of year when commercial fishing is at its height, it dosnt take a brain surgeon to work out that taking fish full of roe before they have had a chance to spawn will do more damage to fish stocks then any fresh water.
I think the Government are wrong in allowing flexibility on the fish quota, the Uk can only eat so much fish, prices will drop and most will be exported to other countries anyway.
My advice to any commercial that moans about not being able to get afloat due to the adverse weather and then expects to get government handouts. Is choose a different profession. Do Bricklayers get government handouts for loss of earnings because they cannot work, NO, do market traders or window cleaners get any handouts, NO. so why do Commercial fishermen get it?
Oh and if you dont want to lose static gear or lobster pots dont put them out knowing the weather will destroy them, or go and get an insurance policy to cover the loss like normal people have to.
There are plenty of small whiting and Codling in the Thames right now. Failing fish stocks are nothing to do with fresh water, its down to over fishing. Cod spawn this time of year when commercial fishing is at its height, it dosnt take a brain surgeon to work out that taking fish full of roe before they have had a chance to spawn will do more damage to fish stocks then any fresh water. I think the Government are wrong in allowing flexibility on the fish quota, the Uk can only eat so much fish, prices will drop and most will be exported to other countries anyway. My advice to any commercial that moans about not being able to get afloat due to the adverse weather and then expects to get government handouts. Is choose a different profession. Do Bricklayers get government handouts for loss of earnings because they cannot work, NO, do market traders or window cleaners get any handouts, NO. so why do Commercial fishermen get it? Oh and if you dont want to lose static gear or lobster pots dont put them out knowing the weather will destroy them, or go and get an insurance policy to cover the loss like normal people have to. iknowbetter
  • Score: 8

4:33pm Tue 11 Mar 14

Howard Cháse says...

I blame the tories.

didn't have this extreme weather when Lionel and Gordon were in charge
I blame the tories. didn't have this extreme weather when Lionel and Gordon were in charge Howard Cháse
  • Score: 3

4:37pm Tue 11 Mar 14

Hockleyt Woods says...

The fresh water in the estuaries has not stopped trawlers from as far away as Kings Lynn, from taking everything they can find in local estuaries day after day all through the winter. I know I saw them!!!
The fresh water in the estuaries has not stopped trawlers from as far away as Kings Lynn, from taking everything they can find in local estuaries day after day all through the winter. I know I saw them!!! Hockleyt Woods
  • Score: 1

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