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4 November 2009

Fishermen feedback

Representatives of Cumbria’s commercial fishermen joined our liaison officers recently to comment on a proposed new questionnaire that will help map fishing activities in the Irish Sea.

At a meeting in Whitehaven last week our liaison officers Laura Bates and Emily Hardman met representatives from the Cumbria Sea Fisheries Committee, Whitehaven Fishermen’s Association, Workington Fisheries, and Maryport and Solway Co-operative.

Also present were the chief executive of Whitehaven Harbour Commissioners, the chair of the West Coast Committee of the NFFO and our GIS data officer Kieron Bell.

Full and frank discussions on the merits of the proposed questionnaire provided Laura and Emily with important comments.

A meeting later the same day in Barrow allowed our officers to meet more of Cumbria’s commercial fishermen. In a lively discussion the fishermen voiced their concerns about marine conservations zones and their potential impact on inshore fishing, as well as commenting on the proposed questionnaire.

As yet the questionnaire is only in its first draft, and the comments will feed into subsequent versions.

A revised draft questionnaire will go back to fishing communities for further comment later this year.

“We’re really grateful that so many people were able to join us at short notice,” commented Laura.

Emily added: “We want to encourage anyone with an interest in this questionnaire to comment on the second draft. We plan to speak to fishermen in Cumbria again, but we’d also like to hear from the commercial fishing community throughout the Irish Sea.”

The second draft questionnaire will be available to comment on between 20th-26th November. To comment, please email us on info@irishseaconservation.org.uk so that our liaison officers can contact you.

Alternatively, you can call us on 01925 813 200.