Update 26 April:
Lobster pot petition entangled in election preparations
We have been told that all petitions on the government website will close at 1am on 3 May because of election purdah. While we will be able to post our petition again following the election, the votes cannot be transferred, so we must begin all over again.
Our campaign for better marking of lobster pots and fishing gear has received an enthusiastic response from sailing folk and the stories are pouring in for our evidence base. We have had a most encouraging reply from the Chief Executive of the National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations offering to work with us. The number of signatories as at 26 April stands at 5389. We have clearly struck a chord.
We said we were in this for the long haul, so we will certainly be reposting our petition as quickly as we can. We’ll let you know as soon as it is live and hope you will sign it again and once more encourage friends, family and other contacts to do the same. Watch this space!
Original news from 12 April:
Join our campaign to make lobster pot markers safer for small craft.
Some of you may have read the letter our President, Judith Grimwade, sent to Yachting Monthly on the subject of lobster pots and fishing gear and the way it is marked. They awarded her a prize!
Poorly marked lobster pots and fishing gear are the most difficult and unpredictable hazard facing coastal cruising people.
Fishermen, too, report the loss of expensive gear as a result of entanglements. These encounters could even be life-threatening. In one year alone the RNLI dealt with 295 incidents of fouled propellers. Most CA members say they would try to sort the problem out themselves so this could be a fraction of the actual number. One lifeboat station said 25% of their call-outs were purely from boats caught up in fishing gear.
We think it is time for everybody with an interest to work together to find a solution, particularly one that is cheap and practical for our fishermen. With this aim, the CA hopes to secure a government consultation about the effectiveness of the current guidance and the merits of enforceable regulations for the whole of the UK.
The MCA tells us that the same issue was raised at recent meeting of the UK Safety of Navigation committee. RATS member, John Lansdell and Ian Wilson will attend the next meeting of UKSON in May.
The CA has posted a petition on the No 10 website and hope you will sign it and encourage others to do so. We have the support of our patron, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, and are canvassing other stakeholders and the yachting press.
Please tell your friends and family about our campaign and get them to sign. If you have personal experience of this problem, please let us know. We are keen to build a body of evidence to support the campaign for change. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org