Shrimps trade needs backing

A shrimper.
A shrimper.

Long before there was a tourist industry in Morecambe (Poulton) people made their living from the sea and continue to do so.

I remember growing up in the 60s and 70s when there was a fleet of small fishing boats off the end of the Central Pier. Green Street slipway was full of dinghies to get the fishermen out to their boats and there was a thriving fishing industry that kept Morecambe Trawlers on Clarence Street in business. Sadly those days are no more and the famous local fishing families of Woodhouse’s, Baxter’s and Willacy’s are not as prominent as they once were.

This makes it all the more important that Morecambe remembers its roots and helps support those few boats and fishermen that remain.

The recent news that a fisherman had his vehicle towed away by the police for causing an ‘obstruction’ is an example of our letting the remaining fishing community down (Fears for our famous shrimps, April 21).

I understand that whilst the vehicle was parked on a ‘hatched’ area it was in no real sense causing an obstruction and that there was plenty of room for the hovercraft or other emergency vehicles to pass.

No fisherman would put the lives of others on the sea at risk. Let’s not forget that before there was an RNLI it was local fishermen who would be rescuing others in peril on the Bay.

There must be a way for the RNLI and fishermen to co-exist? Perhaps setting aside some space for vehicles used by fishermen on the slipway could be a solution (this would have to be without imposing an exorbitant cost of buying a permit).

I assume that the setting of the bylaw, that is partially to blame for the recent incident, falls to Lancaster City Council. If so, then I call on council officials and local councillors to meet with the remaining fishermen to sort out a sensible compromise that enables them to park their vehicles on the slipway whilst still providing access to the RNLI. I’m sure that with a bit of goodwill and commonsense that this can be resolved.

I hope we can keep a fishing industry on the Bay and that we can continue to enjoy Morecambe Bay shrimps for many years to come.

Colin Hartley


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