Funding for fishermen a 'victory for common sense' says MP

Dorset Echo: FISHING FIGHT: Richard Drax FISHING FIGHT: Richard Drax

NEW sources of funding will be available for Dorset fishermen whose livelihoods have been affected by winter storms.

It has been welcomed by South Dorset MP Richard Drax who has been campaigning on behalf of local people.

Fishermen who were unable to put to sea for almost two months due to the weather have up until now unable to find any compensation.

Mr Drax said the funding was a ‘victory for common sense.’

The first fund, given by the Cabinet Office and administered by the Dorset Community Fund, will share £35,000 among Dorset individuals and families hardest hit by the recent storms and floods.

Those, including fishermen, who have claims dating from December 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014 can apply via dorsetcommunityfoundation.org

The second source of funding is the European Fisheries Fund (EFF), administered by the Marine Maritime Organisation (MMO), which has now relaxed one of its most stringent rules for applicants. The EFF will now allow fishermen with boats registered for a year to apply for replacement of lost or damaged kit.

This replaces the previous EFF regulation, which demanded that fishing boats must be registered for five years or more to be eligible.

In addition, the MMO undertakes to help fishermen fill out the time consuming and complex forms so that they are complete before they are sent off to the EFF. The forms and guidance notes are available on the MMO website.

Mr Drax said: “This is a great step forward and a victory for common sense. There was no good reason why boats under five years old were ineligible. Allowing boats on the register for a year or more is a fair compromise. It allows the EFF to record an adequate record of landings, while fishermen who have recently replaced old boats and kit are still accounted for.”

He said he hoped more funding would follow in future.

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