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North Devon fishing industry under threat

The £100M fishing industry in North Devon is under threat say its fishermen after restrictions on the landing of some varieties of fish have been imposed. A crisis meeting has been held at Appledore Fish Dock.

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North Devon fishing industry under threat

North Devon fishing industry under threat Credit: PA

The £100M fishing industry in North Devon is under threat say its fishermen after restrictions on the landing of some varieties of fish have been imposed. The Bristol Channel is renowned for its flat fish but Ray stocks are considered to be under threat in UK waters and a ban has been implemented. But in North Devon, fishing leaders say they've been managing the stocks themselves and the fishery is healthy. This restriction will leave trawlers tied up.

"We now have no ray quota, no sole quota, no spurdog quota, a minimalistic amount of plaice, and a cod quota which can be caught on one trip. How can you expect a fishing industry to survive on that."

– John Butterwith, North Devon Fishermens Association

The NDFA represent 70 fishermen and 650 fish processors with a combined turnover of £100M. Torridge and West Devon MP Geoffrey Cox has raised an urgent parliamentary question about the situation.

“Ray stocks in this area are well looked after as part of a pioneering scheme put in place by the North Devon fishermen to ensure that stocks stay in a good state. The ban is therefore unnecessary here and will have serious consequences on the local industry."

– Geoffrey Cox, Torridge and West Devon MP

The NDFA has written an open letter to Fishing Minister George Eustace and has pulled no punches.

"The final nail in the coffin is that on your watch, you are responsible for the closure of the Bristol Channel fishing industry, and probably many others where fishermen rely on rays for their livelihood; and furthermore , you will bankrupt many businesses and put scores of people out of work."

– George Eustace, Fishing Minister

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