Fishing will be hit

In response to recent activity on the letters pages of the Gazette, I feel I should mention a few facts.

RWE state that there will be a minimum impact on the fishing industry; we, however, have had many meetings with RWE over the past two years and from the very first meeting, RWE informed myself and local fishermen that there would be a 40 per cent loss of fish caught in this sector.

Why on all the exhibitions do they state that there will be minimum impact when they have in fact been told that the opposite will occur?

The quoted lifespan of the wind farm in question is 25 years; the fishing industry as a whole cannot work on a 25-year plan. Appledore Port is one of the oldest fishing ports in the UK, so why after hundreds of years should it be threatened with closure because of a plan which will only last 25 years?

I myself started trading in fish in Bideford as far back as 1979; we are currently operating from state-of-the-art premises costing �3.8million which has been provided by the local council and EU grant funding.

What will happen if the wind farm goes ahead? Shutdown? We employ 13 regular full-time staff and this can increase to 20 with casual workers in the busiest summer months.

All of these staff are local people. I think you will be lucky to see one job created for local people from the proposed wind farm.

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We deal with 273 customers, fishermen and sundries suppliers; this figure actually shocked me as to how many people the knock-on effect will have.

The squid season of 2011 produced �1million in squid and 85 per cent came from the proposed wind farm area.

One thing that I can say is that with the wind farms in Kent, all of the rays have vanished from the area, which were once bountiful ray fishing grounds. So perhaps that fact speaks for itself.

I play at Royal North Devon golf course and the panoramic views are among the best in the world until you stand on the third tee and look across the 22 wind turbines at Fullabrook (and it seems that you can see them from almost anywhere in North Devon).

They are just a small group – nowhere near as many as the proposed Atlantic Array.

Do we really want to look out at the horizon and see this?

AJ Rutherford

Managing director

Bideford Fisheries Ltd

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