March 02, 2022

Support for North East fishers affected by dead crustacean issues

The Seafarers’ Charity has awarded £5,000 to provide a hardship fund, administered by the Fishermen's Mission, for North East fishers, who are experiencing hardship because of the mysterious impact on inshore crab and lobster stocks in North East England coastal waters.

Since October 2021 dead crabs and lobsters have been washed up on the North East England shoreline, consequently many local fishers in the area have had their livelihoods seriously impacted and are experiencing ongoing hardship. Reports suggest that fishers from Hartlepool to Scarborough are finding their catches significantly reduced.

Catherine Spencer CEO, The Seafarers’ Charity, said 'We work very closely with our delivery partner, the Fishermen’s Mission, to provide support for fishers. The situation in the North East is putting enormous strain on fishers and their families, and thus we hope that they will seek support to get them through this current crisis. We will be monitoring the situation closely to see if more aid is needed.’

David Dickens, CEO of the Fishermen’s Mission added, ‘We are grateful to The Seafarer’ Charity for such swift support for the fishermen in this area. We were alerted to this issue by our local port staff and have been able to offer financial and practical assistance. The grant from The Seafarers’ Charity is very welcome and will be much appreciated and valued by those requiring support at this difficult time’.

The Fishermen's Mission are reporting that their Port Staff are aware of fishers in Eyemouth, Bridlington, North Shields and Hartlepool all reporting significant falls in catches. While most of the information from fishers is experience rather than science, it appears the problem is in close coastal waters (0-4 miles) which is forcing smaller scale inshore fishers further out to sea.

The grant awarded via The Fishermen's Mission is with the full approval of the Secretary of the Whitby Commercial Fishermen's Association, Joe Redfern, who has set up a crowd funder to help with legal fees, investigations, and support for those most affected - Crowdfunding to help fund investigations and legal fees for the fishing communities of the North East on JustGiving

The Fishermen's Mission is well prepared for a further surge in demand for financial assistance and from experience, expect the need to be driven by priority debts (rent, council tax), soaring utility bills and general living expenses.

Another charity keen to support the North East fishing sector is the Fishmongers’ Company’s Fisheries Charitable Trust who said: 'In recognition that the problems faced by coastal communities have many dimensions, not least the immediate impact on livelihoods, the Fishmongers’ Company’s Fisheries Charitable Trust is standing by to offer support to help the fishing sector, in collaboration with scientists, understand the root cause of this tragic loss of sea life'.