Fishermen want trawlers stopped

TRAWLERS are snatching the livings of the dwindling band of Bognor Regis fisherman.

Just four boat-owners are based on the town’s beach.

They have warned no-one will follow them because the trawlers are wrecking their fishing grounds.

A spokesman for Bognor Regis Fishermen’s Association said: “These trawlers catch more in six weeks than any of us will catch in ten years.

“There’s no future here for us – or Littlehampton and Selsey – because they’re killing our livelihoods.

“What we are doing is the right thing, because we have been doing it year after year.

“But the trawlers are destroying all that and they often destroy our equipment as well.

“We are being hit twice. There is less for us to fish and we also have to pay to replace our equipment.”

Bognor began as a fishing village because the seabed off its shore promised rich pickings.

The current catch for the remaining fishermen, based next to the pier, is mainly lobster.

But the pots, costing £50 each and which can yield 25-30 lobster a trip, are under threat from the trawlers in April-June each year.

Known as pair trawlers – because two work together with nets – they first appeared some 15 years ago.

Those came from Jersey and were eventually stopped. But others from along the south coast have taken their place. There can be between three and five sets of pair trawlers coming well within two miles of the beach.

The Bognor fishermen say the trawlers are destroying the lobsters’ homes by their constant dragging of the seabed.

Their attempts to get the fishing regulatory bodies to act have failed.

“They quickly come down on us, but they don’t want to do anything against the trawlers,” said the spokesman.

Ian Jones, the deputy chief fisheries and conservation officer at the Sussex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority, said: “The authority has vigorously enforced measures to protect the local stocks from incursion from larger, more powerful 
trawlers.

“No vessels over 14m are active in this fishery and, historically, only two have fished in the 3-6 nautical mile zone.”