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North West fishing communities in 'crisis'

Is this the end of the line for the North West's fishing fleets? Credit: PA

The North West fishing industry is in a state of 'crisis', according to anew report, conducted by Seafarers UK.

The study claims that fishing communities in Whitehaven are suffering far higher deprivation than the national average, with the towns once thriving fleets now reduced to just a few boats.

Whitehaven Harbour Credit: ITV Border
50%
Of all ports were characterised by low incomes.

Fishing is thought to be one of the hardest occupations in Britain. The pay is poor and there is a high risk of chronic long-term work-related injuries.

The maritime charity say the deprivation is partly due to a lack of 'fresh blood' in the industry as younger generations in fishing communities are choosing not to continue family businesses.

New laws, a decline in catches, growing hardship for fishermen and the uncertainties of Brexit have also had an impact.

£1 b
The amount fishing contributes to the UK economy annually.

Many fishing communities have supported Brexit because of the quotas on their catches imposed by the EU.

However, the report highlights that leaving the EU would not automatically see a return to access to pre-EU fishing grounds and catch levels.

Britain's fishing industry will need continued access to European markets if it is to thrive after Brexit - which will mean offering the EU major concessions in allowing foreign vessels to fish in UK waters.

Brexit would also mean an end to access to the European Maritime Fisheries Fund which provides grants to support improvements to ports, vessels and individual businesses.

80% of seafood that we eat is imported from foreign waters. Credit: ITV Border
80%
of the fish we eat is imported.

The report states that although the fishing industry only employs 22,000 people and contributes a fraction of national GDP, its demise would have a huge cultural impact on coastal communities across our islands.

75% of fish that is caught in British waters is exported and 80% of fish that we eat is imported. The charity are urging consumers, especially those from coastal areas, to eat fish that is fresh and local, rather than produce from foreign waters.

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