Thursday, 03 September 2015

Morecambe Bay fishery plans could be scuppered by row

A FLEDGLING fishing firm is at the centre of a row after it attempted to establish a new fishery in Morecambe Bay.

FISHING FUTURE? Kingfisher Seafoods Limited plans to establish a new fishery with rights restricted to local fishermen, but the North West Inshore Fishery and Conservation Authority is refusing to acknowledge their fishery. Pictured from left are company directors Dr Omar Namor and Rob BensonHARRY ATKINSON REF: 50044877B002

Morecambe Bay Shellfish Farms Ltd was set up by Rob Benson, Dr Omar Namor and Dr Jim Andrews, in a bid to create a local sustainable fishery stretching from Rampside to Askam.

However, the North West Inshore Fishery and Conservation Authority has sparked outrage after refusing to acknowledge the firm’s private fishery.

On Monday, the firm announced it had secured a five-year lease on the area from landowner Boughton Estate.

Work to secure the deal first got under way in 2006 but now NWIFCA has claimed there is no evidence and said for the fishery to be recognised it must date back before Magna Carta, the proclamation secured by Simon De Montfort in 1215 from King John.

Dr Andrews, a director of Morecambe Bay Shellfish Farms Ltd, said: “The fishery was granted to the Boughton Estate in 1127.

“There is no doubt in my mind that this is the estate’s fishery.

“IFCA are adopting a position which unfortunately is a step backwards.

“I hope we can resolve the issue – we have lawyers working on this.

“It is a shame we couldn’t resolve this amicably.”

However, Dr Stephen Atkins, chief executive of NWIFCA, believes even if Dr Andrews’ evidence is substantiated, the company may be unable to fully realise their plans due to the authority’s obligations to protect and manage the special area of conservation in the fishery.

Dr Atkins said: “We will not recognise the private fishery they have proposed and we will not recognise the permit scheme the have proposed and we will continue to enforce our bye-laws.

“We will continue to manage the area as a public fishery until it is proved otherwise.

“I still do not think they will be able to do what they have proposed.”

Have your say

I feel compelled to comment regarding what seems like short shortsightedness around the local fishery rights for mussel farming in Morecambe Bay. An earlier report celebrated the award of rights to Kingfisher seafood’s limited to create a sustainable fishery programme within the bay that employed local persons and also generate an apprenticeship programme, again supporting the local economy through employment opportunities.

Sadly all is never plain sailing, as the report set out within Wednesday’s publication suggests the North West Inshore Fisher and Conservation Authority are refusing to acknowledge the fishery and maintain they will continue to manage a public fishery.
A Public fishery is indeed managed well by NWIFCA, being a resident on the shore line I for one would vouch for their level of attention. However! Public fishery organisations do descend upon our mussel beds and remove the produce at levels I have never seen before. They utilise huge industrial vehicles and articulated lorries to take away the produce. They show no regard for the foreshore, often leaving a great deal of mess or vehicle parts scattered along the shoreline.

These fishermen do work unpallatable hours whilst they come ashore, it sometimes result in quadbikes roaring up and down the shoreline during the dark hours, often disrupting those asleep. It also involves large tractors loading up huge bags of mussels onto Lorries or trailers therefore creating disruption to traffic

NWIFCA insist for a fishery to be recognised it needs to date back to the Magna Carta; what twaddle! There are at times, situations that were appropriate back in the times of King John that are not necessarily the same in modern times.

I for one don’t know who Kingfisher Seafoods are, but what I read is they had a business plan that considered both the environment and the local economy. For me that projects common sense and offers a sensible alternative to the ridiculous and unsustainable scenario we have to endure now. A proposition like this must be considered properly and rigorously challenged and governance applied if it were to be put into action. I know from a resident’s perspective I would certainly encourage such a decision.

I am a big advocate for "love Barrow", it seems in some quarters that the phrase or ideal has lost it’s allure.

Posted by Joe Sides on 27 February 2013 at 19:35

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