‘Nightmare’ weather leaves fishermen in financial strife

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 members of the fishing trade have earned nothing since Christmas.

Fishermen and Tim Loughton

Fishermen and Tim Loughton

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.”

John Brooker from East Worthing, said: “Now I have got my pension it does not affect me so much but for a young person with a family having absolutely horrendous weather like we have had must make things virtually impossible.

“Any help that these people can get will be very well received because the harbour dues and loans make things difficult at the best of times and you have to pay for things even when you are not going out.”

William Thiar of Sompting Road, Broadwater, fishes out of Shoreham harbour with his brother Richard.

He said: “There has been damage from the swell and the rocks moving around and you have to leave things to settle before you can get the fish otherwise you will lose your nets.

“We are not in big boats so when you are having to go out you are probably making more problems for yourself but we don’t know what else to do.

“This is forcing us to go out and take more risks just for the sake of catching something.”

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 back.”