20 March 2014
Fishing Compensation Battle Hots Up
Fishermen in Cornwall are disappointed with a compensation scheme announced by the government that initially said it would provide funding to replace equipment damaged during the recent bad weather that hit the UK's coasts.
However, fishermen have now discovered that the funding provided by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs will not include cover for replacement equipment that was bought before they applied for help.
Originally, fishermen thought they could claim up to £5,000 each to repair and replace equipment, which would be a great help as many have been unable to work since Christmas due to damaged boats, the Cornish Guardian reports.
Padstow, one of Cornwall's main fishing destinations, has been particularly badly hit by storm damage, with hundreds of crab and lobster pots being lost or wrecked during the storms.
Some, including Johnny Murt, have already spent significant amounts on replacing their pots, but have since found out these will not be covered by the compensation fund.
Mr Murt told the Cornish Guardian that Padstow fishermen were upset by this and feel the terms of the fund are unfair.
He called these terms "a get-out clause" and said it was vital that fishermen replaced their equipment as soon as they could to enable them to continue with their jobs.
North Cornwall MP Dan Rogerson, who is also the UK's floods minister, has pledged his support to Padstow's fishermen, saying, "I will be working with affected fishermen to make sure that they benefit from all the help and financial support that is available to them."
He added, "The government will also be working with agencies and local councils to make sure that fishermen can access the schemes and get the money they need as quickly as possible."
The European Fisheries Fund is contributing around 60% of the compensation scheme, while the government has said it will pay lighthouse dues for another 12 months, potentially saving the fishing industry around £140,000.
By Francesca Witney