Fishermen across the East say their industry's on a knife edge due to the Covid-19 crisis

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Fishermen across the East say their industry is on a knife edge as the market for their catch dries up due to the coronavirus crisis.

Fisherman Paul Gibson says the industry is in turmoil due to the lockdown Credit: ITV News Anglia

At Leigh on Sea in Essex, fisherman Paul Gibson says he's experienced several challenges over the years, none of which amount to this scale.

"The fishing industry is in absolute turmoil, ports have closed because of lack of demand, getting fish to supermarkets or to the continent where in the South East most of our fish goes, the markets have stopped."

Paul Gibson

Covid-19 follows years of decline in the industry here in the East, but now it could be fatal.

Fish sales to pubs and restaurants in the UK are almost non-existent due to the lockdown and those dealing in white fish sold to countries on the continent have been hit especially hard.

In neighbouring counties the story is the same. Lowestoft's fish market in Suffolk is currently closed and boats are staying in the harbour.

Boats in lowestoft are staying in port Credit: ITV News Anglia

At 'Ben's Fish' on Mersea Island they'd normally supply high end London restaurants. Now they're surviving by selling to islanders.

At 'Ben's Fish' on Mersea Island they'd normally supply high end London restaurants. Credit: ITV News Anglia

It comes as many other industries in the region struggle during the crisis:

With the extra worry of post-Brexit negotiations over British Waters looming, fishermen in the region say they hope the government will be able to offer them more support to keep the industry alive in the future.

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