‘Save Whitby fishing heritage before it’s too late’

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Patrick Ford is so distressed at the potential for catastrophe for small shellfish fishermen, he has set up an association to protect this part of the coastline.

The Scarborough and Filey Inshore Fishermen’s Association now has 14 paid up members who pay £100 a year.

He’s been busy lobbying parliament and getting the support of local MP Robert Goodwill and regularly corresponds with George Eustace to highlight their plight.

“Scallop dredging is the worst thing that can happen to this area.

“I’d like to make a plea that the fishermen of Whitby unite with us,” he said.

“We also need the support of Bridlington. Filey is already on board.

“We need to get together as one, instead of moaning individually about it.

“Recently one of men lost all his crab and lobster pots. This week came news that 100 pots were lost around the coast of Whitby.

“Nothing is left after the dredgers have been. New pots cost £80 each and the cost of replacing them can run into thousands of pounds.”

He heard that 100 pots had been lost off the coast of Whitby.

York University, in conjunction with DEFRA, has highlighted how the mortality of crabs is being affected.

A recent study showed how 63% of edible crabs were irreparably damaged if they were caught in the dredge.

Patrick feels that the ground of Scarborough is some of the best in the world for shellfish, which he says makes it imperative that it is better protected.

“No-one seems to bothered that there may be nothing left to fish off this coastline in 3-4 years time. Then people will ask how did we allow this to happen.”

The way to protect the reefs off Scarborough would be to impose a permanent six- mile ban which would designate an exclusion ban for large scalloping dredgers.

What also worries Patrick and his colleagues is the impact the larger visiting vessels will have, not only on them but the next generation of fishermen.

“Sons fish with their dad’ and want to get into the industry,” he said.

“Ours is one of the best ports for lobsters and crabs and is on a par with Whitby, and we need to preserve this and ensure its sustainable for the next generation.

“You can’t have one of the friendliest forms of fishing, which is potting, pitched against one of the most destructive.”