Eric Ollerenshaw column

Eric Ollerenshaw MP.
Eric Ollerenshaw MP.

Last week in Parliament I attended a meeting organised by Greeenpeace and NUTFA, the representative body for small-scale fishermen and I was joined by ten MPs and fishermen from around the coast.

The group aims to raise the issues facing small scale fishermen and coastal communities onto the agenda and hopefully into election manifestos across the political parties.

Signing up to a five-step plan aimed at regenerating the UK’s inshore waters, fisheries and communities.

One of the aims of the plan is to make sure that local fishing communities are prioritised in the allocation of fishing quota and access to fish for small-scale fishermen in Lancaster and Fleetwood.

Small scale fishermen, include the UK’s most sustainable fleet and make up over three quarters of the entire British fleet, but currently they only have access to four per cent of the UK’s quota.

The remaining quota is handed to larger scale industry, including huge foreign owned fishing vessels.

This has meant the number of UK coastal fishermen who can afford to make a living from fishing has declined and coastal communities have suffered social, environmental and economic knock on effects all too apparent in so many of our coastal communities.

Back in Lancaster, last week I had the chance to be given a tour of the University of Cumbria’s Lancaster Campus to see their plans for new buildings.

This 10 year project is aimed at enhancing the University’s environment by creating three academic districts while maintaining the heritage of the site.

I feel that many people will agree that the University’s development is something that will be good for our City.

However I did stress at the time that to get support of local people they will need to ensure that the parking problems in nearby residential streets are finally being addressed as part and parcel of these developments.

As always, please contact me if I can be of any help.

I represent everyone that lives in Lancaster regardless of how or whether you vote.