New boat for fishing fleet

FISHING is an industry which is plagued by tales not of big catches but often doom and gloom.

FISHING is an industry which is plagued by tales not of big catches but often doom and gloom.

Fleets have dwindled, quotas have been cut, boats scrapped and people have lost their livelihoods and sought other jobs.

But in the middle of a recession - just when you think it might be even worse - there are signs that the industry is fighting back.

At Felixstowe Ferry, fisherman Stephen Crawford has launched a new boat, an eight-metre trawler, and is confident about the future and the trade he has been involved in since leaving school.

The hull of the Lou Annie was built in Cornwall and then brought up to the small Suffolk fishing hamlet where it was fitted out at the Felixstowe Ferry Boatyard.

It was blessed at a special ceremony by Tim Jenkins of the Fishermen's Mission and this week set sail.

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Mr Crawford, 41, who has been working out of the Ferry for 23 years, said he was thrilled with the new boat.

“It is a brave step at this time but it's not all doom and gloom in the fishing industry - it's not as bad as it's painted,” said Mr Crawford, who also runs a fishing stall at the hamlet with his wife Christelle .

“There is good news happening in the industry all the time.

“Sometimes we feel the whole world is against us but there are fish out there, you can get good catches, and it's a great life.

“The quotas are a pain but we are only small boats and I have been able to make a living all my life since I left school.

“I am really pleased with the new boat and looking forward to getting out on the sea with her and hopefully she will keep me in good stead for many years to come.”

Mr Jenkins, whose work for the mission covers the whole of the region, said: “It is fantastic news to have a new boat on the water - I have been working in the area two years and it's the first time I have seen that.

“We held a short ceremony to ask for God's blessing upon her before she is launched.”

How are you beating the recession - tell us your Fightback stories: write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

FASTFACTS: The Fishermen's Mission

The mission aims to alleviate poverty and despair in the UK's fishing communities by providing emergency and welfare support to fishermen and their families 24/7.

Around 13,000 men and women work fishing industry - at sea, they face death and injury on a daily basis; on land, many face insecurity and debt.

The mission provides emergency help to injured and shipwrecked fishermen with financial, practical and emotional support, including bereavement counselling to the families of fishermen lost at sea.

It has a wide range of welfare services, including home from home facilities in its centres, debt counselling and help with medical care.

It also encourages safety-consciousness among fishermen, organising safety training and providing personal safety equipment.