Petition – save the tradition of salmon netting on the Tamar and Tavy

Salmon netting petition

We met Tamar salmon netter Alec Friendship this weekend – and learned that there’s a serious danger that riparian fishing rights owners along the river will get their way and end traditional salmon netting by a tiny number of just three or four licensed fishermen on the Tamar and Tavy.

(Alan may be familiar to readers, as he ran a ferry over the Tamar for many years until quite recently.)

Please indicate your support for the salmon netters here.

What’s striking about the netting fishery is that in common with a few other rivers on the Cornish coast, it’s a pulling boat fishery – the fishermen are only permitted to use boats under oars, not motors.

Fly fishing is big money business on these rivers (as Googling for fly fishing quickly reveals), and I gather from Alec that the riparian rights owners have been campaigning to close down salmon netting for 50 years. No doubt the riparian owners have public relations experts, political connections and the rest, but having met and talked with Alec and having learned a few years ago about the life of Alan Jewitt from obituaries,  it seems unlikely that their campaign will have the same advantages.

Alec tells me that there’s a strong chance riparian interests will win following a consultation on the issue that ends in early April, and that the plan is that the remaining salmon netters’ licences will end on their deaths, and they will not be able to pass their licences on – so the matter is urgent!

This is a case of an unequal struggle – on one side business interest on  with money and Sign the petition here: Keep The Tradition  Of Salmon Netting On The Tamar Tavy

PS – Check out this traditional Tamar salmon netting boat built by Stirling & Son a little while ago. Also, there are some great photos of salmon netting to be found on Flickr.

PPS – Another Tamar salmon fishing boat, Old Stan’s boat, is at the NMMC. See a photo here.

Save the Shipping Forecast

Shipping Forecast

Apparently the BBC suspects we no longer need its famous Shipping Forecast and is running a survey to gather evidence on whether we think it’s important.

My view is that the Shipping Forecast is essential – we can’t rely on mobile phone networks, which in my experience often break down or stop transmitting or receiving data for periods, particularly in bad weather. And besides the equipment boat and shipping uses is also fallible – for example when the batteries are drained or when damp has done its work – and can’t ever be our only source of information.

It’s also a cultural icon that would be missed by many who never go to sea.

I’ve had my say. Have yours at the YBW website.

PS – And here’s something to make you a laugh. Les Barker’s version of the shipping forecast read by the BBC’s Brian Perkins. ? The Shipping Forecast BBC Radio 4’s Brian Perkins – Video Dailymotion. Thanks to Malcolm Woods for this one!

Petition to save the Ethel von Brixham – and other historic craft in Germany

Ethel von Brixham_2012 by VolkerGries_0598

Some folks in Germany are getting up a petition to try to persuade the German authorities to change their minds – and allow the 1890 Brixham-built trawler Ethel von Brixham to continue chartering.

The vessel is in danger because the German authorities have judged her to be non-traditional because she has a more modern schooner sailing rig rather than her original gaff rig and therefore has to comply with different and much more arduous safety regulations – and I gather they have made similar decisions about other craft.

If allowed to stand, this argument could have serious repercussions for many historic craft that have been altered in some way over the years, and in Ethel’s case it will mean that her chartering days will have to end and  her owner, Gerhard Bialek of Kiel, will no longer be able to keep her afloat.

The Ethel is particularly important because:

  • she is the oldest Brixham trawler afloat, of about nine in European waters today
  • her career has been typical of the many English smacks sold to Scandinavia. She worked in the Swedish fisheries from Bohuslän from 1906, and then served in the coastal trade of northern Norway from 1927 to 1980
  • among the Brixham trawlers, she probably the greatest amount of original superstructure

As written, the petition is here: Petition_Ethel von Brixham

If you are in favour, please mail or email Hermann Ostermann at the address given at the bottom of the petition letter. If I hear that an online petition has been created, I will post again about the issue here at .

Hermann sent me some fascinating documents about Ethel von Brixham and other Brixham trawlers’ careers: Brixham smacks to ScandinaviaBrixham trawlers to SwedenSmacks still sailing, and Ethel history.