Monday, 7 July 2014

Britain is no country and the Humber Estuary no fishing ground for an old one-time trawler skipper called Earnest 'Bubs' Cromer

 ‘Bubs’ Cromer, is a 76 year old, former Grimsby trawler skipper, who retains his love of the sea and fishing who :

* had daily exercise of walking 60 yards out into the Humber Estuary to inspect his net tethered on the mud-flats to catch fish on the incoming tide, using a method which has been used by locals on the banks between Grimsby and Cleethorpes for generations.

* on a good day, might catch two small Dover sole, weighing about a pound each, enough for a decent dinner for himself and his wife Kirsten and if he caught  more gave them away to friends and neighbours.

* after a prostate cancer operation, returned to check his net in June and found that among the 15 nets on the Estuary, his was the only left and was approached by two ‘Beach Safety Officers’ in hi-viz jackets, riding beach-buggies who told him he was in breach of a new bye-law and advised to ring the North Eastern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (NEIFCA) for further information and would have to either remove his net or it would be confiscated and destroyed.

* rang NEIFCA and was told he "was in contravention of some regulation so-and-so from 2013" and if  didn’t remove his net from the beach they would do it for him and said : "I couldn’t understand it. People have been fishing this stretch since time immemorial, certainly as long as I can remember. I’ve had no problem in the past, so why now?"

* has, in fact, fallen foul of a Humber Estuary Fishing Bye-law passed in January which states: ‘No person shall dig, use any pots, traps, nets (whether fixed, anchored to the sea-bed, or not) trawls, dredges or similar devices within the Specified Area.’

*  has garnered the support of his two local Members of Parliament, Austin Mitchell and Martin Vickers (right) who intend to take up his cause and a Granddaughter called Holly organising an e-petition to Parliament.

* defied the regulation and made his daily walk down to his net last Monday, only to find it had been badly damaged, mended it temporarily then returned on Tuesday to find it slashed again.

* said in reaction : "I would just like to say to the person or persons who sneaked out during the night to slash my net, you may think of yourself as an environmentalist or a nature lover, but I believe you to be a vandal causing me a lot of hard work. I shall carry on with my harmless hobby in the knowledge that the vast majority of fair-minded people, some from as far away as Australia and the US, fully support me in what I do. If you have a sensible argument against me fishing for my table, then talk to me or write about it. That's how we conduct debates in this country, not with sharp knives."

Earnest, an old fishermen at war with NEIFCA with its sharp laws and environmentalists with their sharp knives. 

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