Government looking at funding options to back fishing school

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A funding crisis at Whitby Fishing School was thrust into the TV spotlight last week, when it appeared on The One Show.

The edition ended with the Government saying it is working with the school, based at the Mission to Seafarers’ Centre in Whitby, to try to put some funding in place, although this has not been guaranteed.

The Government has redefined ‘apprentice schemes’ which has forced the school to offer diplomas instead which may not appeal, attract or be relevant to the young people who might be interested in taking up fishing or in web searches for careers.

“It’s hard as no-one can see us,” said Chief Executive of the school, Anne Hornigold.

“It was brilliant to be on the show but they didn’t broadcast that part – that was quite an important bit. We do enrol throughout the year.”

The school’s financial support had also been spotlighted at a time when the UK could regain direct control over its fishing waters under Brexit and when, at the moment, 60% of the waters are trawled by boats from other countries.

Whitby boasts the only fishing school which trains apprentices in the classroom and offers practical experience.

The episode, which can be seen on BBC iPlayer, showed apprentice Kieran Gilmour, from Manchester, who was aboard a Locker trawler catching lobsters with Mike Locker.

Asked about the safety aspect, Kieran said: “My nan goes to church every Saturday to pray for me.”

Mike said on the show that EU rules had led to the loss of many trawlers from the industry thanks to regulations and quotas.

“We have lost 100 trawlers in 20 years,” said Mike, who has worked 18 hour days and on occasions, 36 hours.

Arnold Locker, interviewed near Whitby’s Swing Bridge, had supported the establishment of the fishing school.

The show also featured discussion about Whitby with actor Stephen Tompkinson – known for his popular roles on Ballykissangel and Drop the Dead Donkey – saying he used to go to Whitby as a child for fish and chips.

And pub landlord actor Al Murray said British cod would be much happier becoming fish and chips than a cod mornay somewhere in France.