Rowers almost cut by lines

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Young Whitby rowers almost had their skin sliced open by fishing hooks in the latest of a series of clashes with fishermen.

A crew from the Friendship were rowing out last week when a fisherman cast out from the pier ends and the line and hook went in front of one rower and behind another while they were in the boat, being dangerously close to cutting them.

Rowers, including the Fisherlads’ crews, say it is happening on a regular basis and are appealing to fishermen to be more courteous, even though they are not actually allowed to fish from the pier ends.

Pete Betts from the Friendship crew told the Gazette: “My daughter was in the boat and it went across the front of one and the back of another. If it had touched them it would have stuck in and ripped the skin or they could have lost an eye.

“Most nights there are one or two crews that this is happening to. The Fisherlads are getting it as well and both clubs are worried about the health and safety aspect.

“You are not supposed to fish off the ends of the harbour and I tried shouting but get abuse. “All we are asking for is courtesy from the fishermen to reel the lines back in.

“Going out, it is not as bad but coming back in you have to be as close to the piers as you can, the oars are almost touching but they are reeling lines in and throwing them out.”

Pete reported the incident to the police and the harbour office who are looking into the incident and stepping up their routine patrols in the area.

Captain Doug Shannon went to the pier ends as soon as he heard what had happened and discovered some of the signs asking people not to fish, which were only put up last year, were missing.

He has ordered new ones and immediately arranged for temporary ones to be put in.

He said: “Mackerel are running so a lot more people want to fish and a lot is down to the individual to be sensible with it but we will do what we can to support the rowers.”