Boston fishermen to benefit from byelaw change

Two areas of the Lincolnshire Coast stand to benefit from new protections under government changes announced this week, according to councillors.

Boston Docks. EMN-201123-111250005
Boston Docks. EMN-201123-111250005

Dogger Bank in the North Sea, and North Ridge, off the South Lincolnshire Coast, will see byelaws brought under the UK’s new Fisheries Act, banning bottom trawling fishing gear.

The aim is to prohibit dangerous fishing activities in areas where there is evidence they harm wildlife or damage habitats.

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Lincolnshire County Council’s environment and economy portfolio holder Coun Colin Davie welcomed the move.

“The overriding messages is that the oceans care for us in terms of our food chain and in terms of our sustainability, and we have a duty to protect areas that are sensitive and environmentally important important for future generations,” he said.

“Sensitive areas need to be protected and bearing in mind we now control again our territorial waters and we’re not sharing them.

“We decide who fishes in them, we can make sure that British fishermen have the proper access they need to sustain their own businesses.”

Coun Davie hoped that some of the changes would help improve the prosperity of fishing ports such as Boston and further down at Sutton Bridge.

“Many years ago, when I was younger, people used to fish regularly off the Lincolnshire coast, there were little boats in every village which used to go out and fish and quite honestly, I think we should hopefully one day get back to sustaining ourselves from our own resources.

“In a world of uncertainty we need food security, but we also need to make sure we have environmental and sustainable security and that means looking after the natural resources we have – protecting them, but also using them to support the economy.”

He hoped the government would go further and stop “turning a blind eye” to the amount of plastic waste in the ocean, calling for a global view of how to recover from the potential damage caused.

“The oceans are critical to the health of the planet, but they’re also critical to the health of the global economy, particularly for poor countries,” he said.

Dogger Bank Special Area of Conservation has the largest shallow sandbank in British waters and supports commercial fish species such as cod and plaice, as well as sand eels that provide an important food source for kittiwakes, puffins and porpoises.