Fisherman wanted for shark survey

Fishermen are wanted to help with the new shark conservation project.

Fishermen are wanted to help with the new shark conservation project.

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FISHERMEN are being sought to get involved in a new project aimed at protecting specials of shark native to waters off the Fylde Coast.

Fleetwood and Blackpool based fishermen are among those being targeted to get involved the new campaign, which hopes to carry out a detailed survey into the quantities of each species of shark.

The scheme has been set up by The Shark Trust and a number of different commercial fishing organisations to help protect stocks in the seas around the UK.

Ken Moran, chief executive officer of Fleetwood Fish Producers Organisation, based in Poulton Street in the town, believes estimating stocks of shark in the Irish sea is irrelevant because there is currently no commercial shark fishing operation off the Fylde Coast.

However, he admitted the conservation of sharks was important.

He said: “As far as I’m aware there’s only three species of shark that turn up round here.

“What The Shark Trust are bothered about is that sharks in the past have been finned and then thrown back into the sea alive.

“It happens in Africa and the Indian Ocean now, but apart from recreational fishing there’s no commercial shark fishing in the UK.

“The only way you could catch sharks is by picking some up in your net by trawling for other species of fish.

“If all the firms are no longer allowed to catch deep water sharks then that surely is a conservation measure.”

Mandy Knott, of the North West Fisheries and Conservation Authority, which is one of the organisations involved in setting up the project, said: “In the past there wasn’t a requirement to separate them out into the different species.

“It’s a project we’re very interested in because it’s hopefully going to come up with some more robust data on the species, so we’re looking forward to it.”

Ali Hood, director of conservation at The Shark Trust, said: “We’re currently in the process of engaging with different groups and different sectors.

“The key thing is we will be pleased to engage with fisherman from the Fylde Coast area and look forward to meeting people in the next few months.

“The project is focusing on North West England because in the past a lot of work of this nature has been focused on the South West so it’s great to be able to do this work in other regions.”

Fishermen at North Sea ports such as Grimsby, Hull and Whitby are also being sought for the project.

Fishermen participating in the project will be given materials to help identify various species currently under threat such as the small-spotted catshark, the starry smoothhound shark and the cuckoo ray.

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