Tyne & Wear

Whitby fishermen move north to land catch at North Shields

Richard Brewer
Image caption Whitby fisherman Richard Brewer said the fishing grounds were closer to North Shields

Fishermen based at a North Yorkshire town have said they are having to land their catch 50 miles away at North Shields to make their boats profitable.

There are concerns it could be the "final nail" for Whitby, a traditional fishing town.

The fishermen said North Shields was nearer to the fishing grounds and they were able to sell fish there at a higher price due to increased demand.

A recent EU ruling also now further limits fishing time.

Within the last month, the EU has cut the amount of time fishermen are allowed to fish from 135 days to 125.

Some Whitby fishermen said with time and fuel prices now added factors, it was more economical to land their fish further north, nearer to the fishing grounds.

Catch quotas

Whitby fisherman Richard Brewer runs a trawler called the Copious.

He said: "Working from North Shields when we go to the ground takes an hour."

He said to work from home the same distance would take five and a half hours.

He added: "The distance is why we are having to work from North Shields."

Image caption Mr Dixon said it could be the "final nail" for Whitby

Four of the five big boats in Whitby are now landing in North Shields.

Andy Dixon, from Caley Fisheries, North Shields, said: "You never like to see any port struggling.

"It may be the final nail for Whitby unfortunately but we have three of their best trawlers and their quality of fish would sell anywhere so it's certainly Shields's gain."

Boats are forced to operate within strict EU catch quotas, which fisherman have argued for a number of years is damaging their livelihoods.

Fisheries minister Richard Benyon said the government was at the "forefront of moves in Europe to reform the commons fisheries policy".

He said: "I can assure you we are really trying to get a different system and to change the current system that is so perverse that it is driving fishermen out of business and not seeing the recovery in the fish stocks that we need."

MEP Edward McMillan-Scott, Liberal Democrat for Yorkshire and the Humber, said he sympathised with the fishermen.

He said: "They have had to put up with incredible bureaucracy and it destroying their livelihood. And at the same time not any sense that Brussels understands. Well, Brussels is beginning to understand."

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