Sark looks to the future with regard to fishing industry

HOPE for the future is the focus of Sark’s annual sea fisheries report.

Conseiller Helen Plummer. (29081462)
Conseiller Helen Plummer. (29081462)

The Agriculture, Environment & Sea Fisheries committee has drawn on the previous year’s difficulties related to the effect of Covid and Brexit and looks to potential improvements to the industry.

This includes encouraging more new fishermen at the harbour and an option to increase the supply of scallops and wet fish, as well as looking to open up the market to allow crayfish catches.

In addition, increased advertising to promote angling tourism is to be considered after a boost in anglers during 2020.

However, George Clacy’s idea to introduce seaweed farming to the island to help the environment and employment has been dropped due to ‘bureaucratic requirements in Guernsey’.

Pondering the previous year, the committee’s chairman, Conseiller Helen Plummer, said problems with access to French waters following Covid restrictions – which were allowed eventually – as well as the uncertainties associated with Brexit had meant there had been lots to overcome.

‘2020 has been a difficult year for most people, including fishermen,’ she said. ‘They have not known if they could land the bulk of their catch in Dielette and whether businesses would be open to take their catches.

‘Members of the committee, along with the chief secretary, have sat in on many video conferences with Defra, Guernsey and Alderney to press Sark’s stand that Dielette is a very important port to export our catches.’

She argued that Sark’s fishing industry was not just a minor thing to worry about, but was part of its heritage, and the fishermen’s products were a boost to encourage tourists to spend time in the island.

Bubbling with the Bailiwick of Guernsey is said to have helped the industry with businesses able to purchase the catches.

‘Hopefully 2021 will be back to normal and new avenues for businesses will open,’ Conseiller Plummer said.

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