A conference on the importance of the fishing industry was held at Sussex Coast College of Friday (October 10), attracting more than 50 delegates from across the UK.
Councillor Peter Chowney, deputy leader of Hastings Borough Council, and chairman of the Hastings FLAG (Fisheries Local Action Group), organised the conference, in partnership with the council, Hastings Fishermen’s Protection Society, Hastings Voluntary Action, Sussex Coast College and the University of Brighton.
He said: “The Hastings fishing industry is vital to our heritage, and plays an invaluable role in helping us promote the town. But it faces major challenges, and the local FLAG, working with the Marine Management Organisation, is responsible for helping to manage the distribution of nearly £1 million of European Union money to help the industry develop, and deal with these challenges.
“Projects have been wide ranging, from more bulldozers and on-board equipment for the fishermen through to the fitting out of the Classroom on the Coast in Stade Hall, and the new information screen on The Stade. This conference was intended to raise awareness of the Hastings fishing industry, and help provide stronger links between the industry and the schools, colleges and university, the environment, culture and tourism.
“We were very pleased to have Peter Jones CBE, the chairman of the South East Local Enterprise partnership as a speaker, who helped explain the importance of coastal regeneration, and the part Hastings can play in that.
“Paul Joy, the chairman of the Hastings Fishermen’s Protection Society emphasised how the town’s fishing heritage had a vital role to play in its future regeneration, and he was able to explain first-hand about the challenges the fishing industry faces.
“It was an excellent conference, and I am especially grateful to Dr Jo Orchard-Webb of the University of Brighton for chairing it, and to Sussex Coast College for hosting us.”