Lobster fishermen in Scarborough have welcomed a ban on scallop fishing which they say is threatening to put them out of business.
In the last fortnight almost 1,000 pots have been lost or destroyed by dredging of the sea bed off the town’s coast.
Now the North Eastern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority has implemented a bye-law prohibiting scallop dredging for a six-month period throughout its stretch of coast, from Whitby to Filey,
Patrick Ford, skipper of the Optimistic, who has 25 years’ experience of fishing for lobsters, is one of the founders of the Scarborough and Filey Inshore Fishermen’s Association, which will act as a united voice to improve the lot of the town’s skippers.
He told The Scarborough News: “It started last November when boats started turning up here and in Whitby when it got out how rich in scallops the sea was around here.
“It came to a head recently when there were more than 20 scallop boats in Scarborough harbour.
“The way they dredge just destroys the sea bed and the pots we have down there.
“In the last two weeks 1,000 pots have gone, that’s around £65,000 to £70,000 of equipment we think.
“It’s ruining people’s livelihoods and will put people out of business.
“This ban will run until October and will give us some respite and a chance to lobby for more protection.”
The skippers would like to see permanent protection given to the sea beds around Scarborough, similar to a scheme that operates in the sea around Bridlington.
The North Eastern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority has no powers to limit the number of scallop boats using a harbour and the surrounding waters at any one time.
Mr Ford added that the newly formed Scarborough and Filey group would continue its fight and added that they had contacted their Members of Parliament in a bid to take their case all the way to the top.