Fleetwood’s inshore fishermen fear their livelihoods will be squeezed out if more windfarms go ahead in Morecambe Bay.
Members of the six-strong Fleetwood Inshore Fishermen’s Group (FIFG) discussed the matter with Shadow Attorney General Dominic Grieve QC in a meeting in the town.
The men showed Mr Grieve three charts indicating how their fishing grounds are shrinking alarmingly.
They argue that if more windfarms get the go-ahead – and the Government is under pressure from EU directives to sanction more schemes – the fishermen will have nowhere left to fish.
The men want the Government to make assurances that no further windfarm schemes will get the go ahead until a satisfactory compensation, or redundancy, package is in place. One option desired is a cash deal to buy bigger boats to operate further afield.
Mr Grieve said:
“It’s very surprising the Government is placing inshore windfarms in areas which are essentially for fishing.
“I know what a useful thing wind power is but sometimes we exaggerate its potential to lower our carbon footprint. “
Fleetwood Conservative councillor Mark Hamer said: “Their traditional fishing grounds are now virtually barred from them, and things can only get worse so their case must be argued.”
FIFG member Fred Riding, skipper owner of the boat Inspiration, said: “We are being displaced, but if we lose our jobs it is virtually impossible to claim the dole because our boats are classed as financial assets.”
Barrow windfarm is already operating, and construction of the Ormonde site, also off Barrow, is underway. Shell Wind Energy is hoping to develop 90 turbines just three miles off Fleetwood and a further wave of developments are planned at Walney and West Duddon.
By Richard Hunt
13 February 2008
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