The MP for West Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Andrew George, will increase pressure on Government Ministers this week to ensure that those fishermen who have been badly affected by the recent storms and damage to their boats and equipment will receive appropriate support from Government.
Mr George took the Deputy Prime Minister, Rt. Hon Nick Clegg MP, to meet some of the fishermen who have been affected with the loss of fishing boats and fishing gear and who have had little opportunity to put to see in the last couple of months, in view of the weather.
Whilst the Government has pledged £10 million to compensate farmers who’ve been affected by flooding, fishermen emphasised the impact that the storms have had on their industry. Ten boats in Porthleven were sunk by the storms over a week ago and a number of fishermen have been unable to retrieve their crab pots and other fixed gear which have been set at sea. This gear will cost thousands of pounds to replace. They cannot be insured for this.
In an aide memoir to the Deputy Prime Minister after his visit Mr George said:
“As you heard when you were visiting Porthleven, local fishermen have been very hard hit by an extended period of very bad and stormy weather. In the case of Porthleven itself, some fishing boats were lost, others fear that they have lost their fishing gear as it has been left at sea and they’ve been unable to recover this.
For the Under 10 metre fleet – which makes up the majority – there are no restrictions on their “days at sea” and many of them catch non quota species most of the time. Some of these men have hardly been to sea in the last two months but there is no support for them and they feel that it is unfair that farmers are receiving support when they are not.
I’d be grateful if you would let me know what actions have been taken in respect of discussions and investigations with the relevant Fishing Minister at Defra or whether fishermen may be entitled to apply to the Government’s Hardship Fund which is there to support “businesses” affected by the storms.”
Mr George said:
“I’m aware that many other businesses – not just farms and fishermen – have been affected by the storms, and that’s why I’m pleased that the “Hardship Fund” has been set up to support any businesses which can demonstrate that they have been affected by the storms.”