Cornwall

MP secures licence fee waiver for oyster fishermen

Oysterman Tim Vinnicombe
Image caption Oysterman Tim Vinnicombe said new EU rules could have spelled the end of the industry

Oyster fishermen in west Cornwall have been told they will not have to obtain new licences to gather oysters.

It was feared new EU regulations would mean the Fal fishermen could have to pay more than £4000 per licence.

Truro and Falmouth MP Sarah Newton took up the issue in Westminster on behalf of the fishermen.

Ms Newton said she would do all she can "to ensure that the last fleet under sail in Europe continues to supply oysters for generations to come".

Ms Newton added: "I am pleased that progress has been made in securing the ongoing viability of the Port of Truro Oyster Fishery.

"The Fishery, and the annual Fal Oyster Festival, is an asset to Cornwall."

Last month a Defra spokesperson said: "The MMO will not charge for these licences and there is no reason why any fishermen currently operating won't be able to carry on fishing as a result of the changes."

Fishermen of the Port of Truro Oyster Fishery have gathered oysters from the Fal Estuary for more than 500 years.

There had been serious concern that the cost of purchasing Marine Fisheries Licences could put oyster fishermen out of business.

Tim Vinnicombe, a fifth generation oysterman, feared the rules could be the "nail in the coffin" for the industry.

Ms Newton said: "I look forward to welcoming Truro Harbour Master Captain Brigden to Westminster later this month, where we will make further representations on this issue."

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