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Groundbreaking fishing scheme could become global model
A GROUNDBREAKING scheme first used in Lyme Bay is proving to be the real ‘catch of the day’ – and it could become the model for sustainable fishing worldwide.
Lyme Bay Fisheries and Conservation Reserve management team and local fishermen were concerned at the decreasing levels of fish in the area just over 18 months ago and decided to do something about it.
The partnership between the fishermen and the conservationists allows fishermen to decide the rules about what they catch and how they do it, but limits the amount of gear they can use such as a reduction in the crab and welk pots they put down.
The fishermen wrote their own code of conduct and have ice packing facilities to preserve their catches.
The scheme has worked so well it has attracted international interest.
Project manager Neville Copperthwaite said the project had gone better than anyone expected.
He said: “The whole idea is to protect the Lyme Bay area and to protect the livelihoods of fishermen.
“This is the first time fishermen and conservationists have got together to create a working group to try to protect everyone’s interest and it’s gone a lot better than we all expected.
“When we started, our sponsors Marks and Spencer and DEFRA who both contributed £300,000, said whatever we did had to be transferable so it’s great to see it is.”
Similar schemes will now be trialled in fishing towns across the United Kingdom and it gained worldwide attention at a conference held on Portland last week – including a Harvard professor and fishermen from the Faroe Islands.
Alex Jones has been fishing in Lyme Bay for 12 years.
He said: “It’s a win-win situation for all involved.
"It’s good for the fish, good for us fisherman, the environment and it shows what a good scheme it is because it’s now going national.”
Fishermen who sign up get a special logo for their catches to highlight how the fish are caught and organisers expect it to mean an extra 30 per cent in revenue Angus Walker, who has been fishing for more than 60 years, described the project as the way forward for fishing, but warned caution about the roll out across the nation.
He said: “It’s a great starting point and has worked well here but all areas are different so it will have to be modified for each area.”