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STORMS: Fishermen hit by wild weather
9:16am Thursday 20th February 2014 in News
MONTHS of wet and windy conditions are causing extreme hardship for local fishermen.
Recent storms have seen boats remain in harbours and expensive fishing equipment go missing.
Andy Alcock, secretary of the Weymouth and Portland Licensed Fishermen’s and Boatmen’s Association, said ‘thousands of pounds of damage’ had been done to boats in harbours.
He said: “Everybody talks about what’s happening inland.
“Nobody has come to us and has said: ‘What has it cost us?’”
Mr Alcock suggested a number of the damages were ‘unseen’ and that it would take three weeks of ‘settled weather’ for fishermen to even begin to recover.
He revealed that a number of fishermen had been affected since mid-December.
“These boys have done six to eight days of work since before Christmas.
“It really has been devastating.”
He added: “Not one politician has come up to the fisherman of Weymouth and Portland and said: ‘How can we help you?’”
Jan Davey, 38, from Portland, has fished from Chesil Cove for 22 years.
On Wednesday, February 5, his boat Try Again, was smashed to pieces by the huge waves that crashed over the sea wall at Chiswell.
His reserve boat, located on land behind the sea wall, had a similar fate.
His father, Rhys, 68, said his son was one of only three fishermen with a licence to fish around Chesil Cove.
He said: “He’s determined to carry on. He will try by whatever means to keep going.
“This time it’s been extremely trying for him.”
The petrol winch, sited on the sea wall, had also been severely damaged.
Mr Davey’s father added: “The fishing has always supplemented his income. He has always fished around the year.
“To be without a boat, it’s not very good.”
As part of a package to help communities hit by flooding, a £5,000 ‘repair and renew’ grant for all affected homeowners and businesses will be available.
One Weymouth fishermen, who wished to remain anonymous, said he would like to see the £5,000 grant extended to fishermen.
“We’re here, in Dorset, earning a living, generating millions for the economy through fish sales, and yet they haven’t even mentioned us in dispatches.
“We would like to see the avail ability of that £5,000 grant. It wouldn’t cover us but it would certainly help us – to buy new ropes, a few new pots and get us back on the road to earning again.”
South Dorset MP Richard Drax said he was happy to raise concerns in Parliament and explore ways Defra could help the fishing trade. Mr Drax said: “It is certainly a point worth making to the government.
“A lot of people have suffered in this terrible, unprecedented weather. The stormy seas have affected the fishermen in as much as the rain has affected the farmers.”
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