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New Rules for Weymouth Fishermen


7:27am 3rd July 2012

Fishermen in Lyme Bay will from today be following a voluntary code of conduct about how much gear they use.

The new rules mean that any one fisherman will be restricted to 250 crab and lobster pots, 500 whelk pots and individual nets no longer than 600 meters.

The aim is to strike a balance between conservation and the economic needs of local fishermen.

"The Lyme Bay project is designed to address two challenges the UK Government has come up against to date in its efforts to create marine protected areas," comments Charles Clover, chairman of Blue Marine Foundation and author of The End of The Line. "The proposed scheme sets out not only to protect the ecosystem of Lyme Bay but also, crucially, to create some value for local fishermen through the process of conservation. British farmers are paid to conserve on land - our project will try to find ways in which fishermen can derive similar benefits from conservation at sea," he explains.

Angus Walker, who represents 16 members of the Axmouth and Seaton Fishermen and Boat Owners' Association in those ports, says: "Fisherman in the under-10-metre fleet are natural conservationists which is a fact that has been lost over the last 3 to 4 decades and at last within this group we have a chance to put forward ideas that actually have a chance of conserving both fish and fishermen."

Jim Newton, who represents 12 members of the East Devon Fishermen and Boat Owners' Association in the port of Beer, invites any fishermen who have not yet signed the memorandum of understanding to sign up. He said: "It makes sense to everybody really, they just need to watch what we're doing. There is no point in hammering the hell out of something. It's not going to benefit anyone in the end. If they take notice of what we do and do what we do, it should be ok for everyone."

Dave Sales, who represents 17 members of the Bridport Commercial Boat Owners' and Fishermen's Association covering the port of West Bay, says: "Sustainability provides a future for the fishermen."

Alex Jones, who represents a group of younger fishermen from the port of Lyme Regis, says: "The future has to be with fisherman and scientists working together towards a common goal of sustainability, protecting areas but still keeping the fishing communities going. If we can show that we are fishing sustainably, then we are creating a better product than people who aren't."

Nigel Hill, also from Lyme Regis, says: "There is a real risk of it eventually being wiped out with nothing left for anyone. I agree that this is a very good, sustainable way of saving the future for the next generation."

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