SHOREHAM fishermen have appealed for help after weeks of storms and flooding has left their livelihoods ‘hanging by a thread
The worst winter in memory has meant that many have earned nothing since Christmas.
Tim Loughton, MP for Shoreham and East Worthing, was joined by around 20 fishermen at Shoreham Lifeboat Station on Thursday, to discuss ideas to put to the Government to help ease the situation.
Jim Partridge, chairman of Monteum Ltd, based in Brighton Road, Shoreham, said: “The most important thing is cash flow.
“If the bankers could give a six month holiday on interest and repayments on boat loans and mortgages that is one worry taken away and would help an awful lot.”
Kevin Macguire, of Brighton Road, Shoreham, fishes full time and his partner Tash Stipp makes his nets.
He said: “Our house is earning nothing -we have been out three times since the beginning of December which has just covered the drops.
“The problem is that there is no insurance cover for fishermen if equipment is lost and we cannot even sign on.
“The situation has got so bad for me, Tash and our two crew members that Fishermen’s Mission has stepped in to help.”
Lee Deighton, of Upper Beeding, said: “For the last three weeks we have got a day in and that is taking a chance by going out the night before. “I think that help with fees would go a long way to helping people because desperation is causing us to take risks just to get something.
“You need lots of different types of nets for different types of fish and if you do not have the right tools for the job then you cannot produce. Because we are not earning we cannot pay out for new gear either.”
Andre Soliman from Shoreham said: “Fishing is not something you do to make money, it is a way of life for us and we love it.
“But the industry is being squeezed and as we are so far behind with the weather, trying to catch up is going to be such a nightmare.
“We cannot really cover and at the moment they are hanging on by a thread and everyone is in the same situation.”
Mr Loughton said: “I think we need to be looking at a holiday for fees and grants to cover the cost of lost equipment. I have got some really practical ideas here that I can take away.”