A motion calling on government to take specific measures to protect smallboat fishermen from the economic effects of Covid-19 Virus will be presented to the next full council
The bill, which will be sponsored by the Lib Dem Cabinet portfolio holder for Transport Geoff Brown and seconded by Councillor Arman Toms (Independent), calls on the government to set up a ‘specific hardship fund to assist hard pressed fishermen, particularly those with smaller boats in the under 15m fleet who are struggling on the breadline due to the extensive stormy winter and impacts of the COVID-19 virus which now include a total shut down of all foreign markets.
Just last week the Newquay Lifeboat had to be launched to standby a local vessel that had been hit by very heavy seas and had wheelhouse windows stoved in and suffered electrical problems. The vessel was pushing poor weather in order to try and get to gear not seen for weeks and try to earn a living.
Geoff Brown said: “This winter has been especially challenging with constant storms and high seas. Where there have been breaks in the weather many have been pushing the boundaries of safety in order to try and earn a living.
“They are able to apply for basic Universal Credit but nothing more. The Fishermen's Mission, who do a fantastic job in supporting seafarers, are reporting more welfare requests this year both at both their Newlyn and Brixham centres.
Added to this our fishermen had hoped to come out of the worst stormy winter since 2014 only to be faced with a collapsing market due to the Corona virus, which has already closed key markets in China, Italy, France and Spain and with fish prices going through the floor.”
Other supporters of the motion include: supporters Richard Buscombe Padstow, Helen Hawkins Lands End coves, Pete Le Broy Bude, Edwina Hannaford Polperro, and James Mustoe Mevagissey.