The date today is 14-02-09

Scallop Assoc fall out with Natural England

Jan 26th, 2009 | By ssacn | Category: Catching sector

The majority of the scallop industry of the UK has withdrawn from a large stakeholders’ symposium on Thursday resulting in its cancellation.

A statement was issued on behalf of the majority of the UK Scallop Dredging Industry, as represented by the Scallop Association, the Southwest Inshore Fishermen’s Association and the South Western Fish Producer Organisation Ltd said that they are taking this action due to what they feel was an astonishing display of prejudice against the industry by the CEO of Natural England, Helen Philips.

Ms Philips used the words “Rape and Pillage” to describe the operations of scalloping vessels in the seas off Lyme Regis in the decades before ex-Fisheries Minister, Jonathan Shaw, ordered the closure of the 60 square miles of the valuable scallop beds and nearby reefs in 2008.

Some of the key points of the statement were :-

“In describing their legitimate activities as “rape and pillage”, Helen Philips has exposed deep-seated prejudices and has insulted the scallopers and families, whose livelihoods have been decimated by the closure last August of the Lyme Bay scallop fishery.

“Her words could not have been more deliberately chosen, aimed as they were at an audience comprised mainly of environmental lobbyists at the Coastal Futures 2009 conference in London on 20th January. She may have massaged her own ego by pandering to her audience, but her timing could not have been worse, or her choice of words more hurtful. It is clear to us that she cannot wait to closedown even more scallop and trawling beds in the processes laid down in the Marine and Coastal Access Bill.

“Instead of being “consulted”, we have simply been “conned”. Instead of being praised for our valuable contribution to marine conservation work, we have been pilloried as ‘though common criminals”, said Jim Portus, who witnessed Helen Philips’ attack.  He said:

“The industry deserves better. They helped establish seabed surveys and, in 2001, local fishermen volunteered to protect areas of reef habitat, as identified by Devon Wildlife Trust.

“Voluntarily and thanks to the wisdom and guidance of Ben Bradshaw, MP and Minister of Fisheries at the time, the protected areas expanded greatly in 2006. Sadly all 60 square miles of scallop beds and reefs were closed in 2008 by Jonathan Shaw, MP, on the advice of Natural England, whose only agenda, it is now clear, is to cause the downfall of the scalloping industry through area-by-area closures.”

Related posts:

  1. Scallop Dredging Video
  2. Scallop Association joins SFF
  3. Scottish NO to scallop proposal
  4. Illegal scallop fishing
  5. Dutch scallop dredger ordered to pay £47,000

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