The Seafarers’ Charity has awarded £5,000 to provide a hardship fund, administered by the Fishermen’s Mission, for North East fishers who are experiencing hardship due to the unexplained impact on inshore crab and lobster stocks in coastal waters off North East England.

Since October, dead crabs and lobsters have washed up on the North East England shoreline, and many local fishers in the area have had their livelihoods seriously impacted and are experiencing ongoing hardship. Reports suggest that fishers from Hartlepool to Scarborough are finding their catches significantly reduced.

Catherine Spencer, CEO of The Seafarers’ Charity, said: “We work very closely with our delivery partner, the Fishermen’s Mission, to provide support for fishers. The situation in the North East is putting enormous strain on fishers and their families, and thus we hope that they will seek support to get them through this current crisis. We will be monitoring the situation closely to see if more aid is needed.”

David Dickens, CEO of the Fishermen’s Mission, added: “We are grateful to The Seafarers’ Charity for such swift support for the fishermen in this area. We were alerted to this issue by our local port staff, and have been able to offer financial and practical assistance.

“The grant from The Seafarers’ Charity is very welcome, and will be much appreciated and valued by those requiring support at this difficult time.”

The Fishermen’s Mission says that its port staff are aware of fishers in Eyemouth, Bridlington, North Shields and Hartlepool all reporting significant falls in catches. It appears the problem is in close coastal waters (0-4 miles), which is forcing smaller- scale inshore fishers further out to sea.

The grant awarded via the Mission is with the approval of the secretary of the Whitby Commercial Fishermen’s Association Joe Redfern, who has set up a crowdfunder to help with legal fees, investigations and support for those most affected here.

The Mission says it is prepared for a further surge in demand for financial assistance, and from experience expects the need to be driven by priority debts (rent, council tax), soaring utility bills and general living expenses.

Another charity keen to support the North East fishing sector is the Fishmongers’ Company’s Fisheries Charitable Trust, which said: “In recognition that the problems faced by coastal communities have many dimensions, not least the immediate impact on livelihoods, the Fishmongers’ Company’s Fisheries Charitable Trust is standing by to offer support to help the fishing sector, in collaboration with scientists, understand the root cause of this tragic loss of sea life.”

This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.30 here


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