Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Seaside Opportunity

If anyone out there is in a hurry to 'Pop the question' with a plane banner, Channel 4 Television have asked me to find a volunteer for a new documentary and I would much rather do it closer to home and perhaps somewhere like Botany bay or The Turner Contemporary to promote Thanet. So let me know if your plans include a proposal before Christmas?

Tomorrow, I've a meeting with both our local MPs at Westminster to discuss concerns over the harvesting of marine life from Thanet's reef by small organised gangs of migrants.  I've already had a chat with the environment agency about the problem and a representative of the Gangmasters' Association will be present as well.

This is not up to the levels that they experience elsewhere in the country, the shoreline around Liverpool being the worst, I'm told with their large cockle beds. Anecdotal reports I receive suggest that the frequency along our own coastline is not sustainable and may indeed be having a negative impact; the legislation having never anticipated the pressures of 21st century life on the coastal marine environment.

What can be done beyond putting pressure on the Environment Agency and Natural England, I'm not entirely sure but from an environmental perspective, I think it's time that Government realised that fragile coastlines, like our own, here in Thanet, deserve a proper level of protection and both Roger Gale and Laura Sandys have been very supportive since Alasdair Bruce and I last met with them to discuss the issue.

I will of course keep readers informed of any progress but if you spot gangs working the reef, please drop me an email, letting me know where, when and where as it helps me scale the nature of the problem.


ascu75 aka Don said...

Simon I am in favour of Marine Protection Zones and would love to see better protection from these gangs, but how do you police it. I used to know shellfish sellers who worked these coasts who had a vested interest in not damaging the enviroment because it was there workplace. These gangs move into an area, strip it clean and move on SHORT TERM GAIN and no thought for the future

DrM. said...

I thought we might put our surplus of savage staffies to good use by letting them roam along the beaches, biting strangers but then I realised they do that already!

It's really a question of being able to enforce local legislation. The council, could, in principle I understand, require that licenses be issued but I suspect that the groups involved wouldn't take great notice of the minor legalities if we did.

Tony Beachcomber said...

Simon, what exactly are they taking.It appears our local mussels are underdeveloped to be of commercial use and the winkles are to small.

Tony Beachcomber said...

Also there is a licensed cockle dredger that harvests cockles on a industrial scale by the tonne in Pegwell Bay, perhaps that may need looking into as one days cockling is more perhaps than the shore harvesters, harvest in a year.