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Fishing vessel on Hastings Beach

Fishing vessel on Hastings beach - fishing is a core part of the town's identity.

Fishing for a sense of place: major new survey

A survey has been launched to find out how the fishing fleet influences the way people feel about Hastings.  Working with the Hastings Fisheries Local Action Group (FLAG), the University of Greenwich’s School of Science is conducting a major new survey, called Sensing Fishing Places, to find out how marine fishing contributes to a sense of place in Hastings. Chris Cormack reports.

How does the fishing fleet influence the way that you feel about Hastings? The Stade has been the home to a beach-launched fleet in Hastings for over 1,000 years. It is Britain’s oldest fishing port with over 25 fishing boats and boasts the largest beach-launched fleet in Europe.

With fishing in decline in many areas, and inshore fleets struggling to cope with reductions in quota allocation, it is important to understand the social and cultural value of fishing for coastal communities. The results of this survey are intended to inform fisheries policy and management and will be made publicly available to local communities and decision makers.

The survey is being conducted in fishing communities on both sides of the English Channel and the southern North Sea to create a snapshot of fishing places at the start of the 21st century. It is part of the GIFS – Geography of Inshore Fishing and Sustainability – project under the umbrella of the EU-funded Interreg 4a 2 Seas programme.

The University of Greenwich (School of Science and Greenwich Maritime Institute) is managing the survey across four countries – France, Belgium and Holland, in addition to the UK – working closely with the University of Brighton, University of Brest, Agrocampus Ouest, Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) and the Municipality of Middelburg. 

The partners will help to identify appropriate people interested in the survey and ensure that the Dutch and French versions are accurate, Dr Julie Urquhart, one of the project leaders at the University of Greenwich, tells HOT. As the survey is mainly deployed online,  the University of Greenwich will collate and analyse all the results and make comparisons between the four countries, as well as setting interesting data in a more local context.

The final results of the survey will be published on the GIFS website, but will also be made available to local communities – in Hastings it will be distributed through Hastings FLAG and the borough council. The full results will only be available in summer 2014, but preliminary results may be available later this year. Photographic exhibitions will also be mounted. For further details, visit the GIFS website.

If you live or work in Hastings and would like to take part in this survey, please go to the following link to complete the survey online.  Or, for a paper copy of the survey, please contact Dr Julie Urquhart at GIFS@greenwich.ac.uk, telephone 0208 331 8227/9751 or pick one up at the University of Brighton in Hastings campus reception in Priory Square.  The survey will run until 19 April 2013. Join others in shaping the voice of what marine fishing means for our coastal communities today.

 

Posted 20:58 Thursday, Feb 28, 2013 In: Hastings People

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