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Fishing makes a comeback in Great Yarmouth

PUBLISHED: 17:22 04 May 2010 | UPDATED: 10:14 02 July 2010

Stephen Pullinger

Two years ago brothers Richard and Jason Clarke became national symbols of a declining industry as the last two full-time fishermen in Great Yarmouth.

Two years ago brothers Richard and Jason Clarke became national symbols of a declining industry as the last two full-time fishermen in Great Yarmouth.

And when first Richard and then Jason decided to quit, ending a family tradition going back generations, it looked like the sad end of a rich chapter in the port's history that had once seen fishing boats packing the river.

But undaunted by the EU quotas which have caused such a national outcry by fishermen, Richard Brookin, who had been crewing for the Clarkes, took the bold decision to hire their boat, Eventide.

An appeal in the Evening News to recruit a deckhand drew 16 responses and for the past three months Mr Brookin, 31, has been out at sea up to seven days a week, working as many as 21 hours a day with his new employee Anthony Harvey, a former stonemason and builder.

“I was surprised by the number of applications as it is a hard life and a deckhand who had been working for me on a temporary basis decided it was not for him,” he said.

However, Mr Harvey, 35, of Garfield Road, Yarmouth, insisted it was the life for him - following in the footsteps of his fisherman great-grandfather.

Mr Brookin, of King Street, Yarmouth, said quota restrictions had not proved a problem as they had varied their catches to include everything from cod and skate to turbot, lemon and Dover sole and lobsters.

He said: “We worked 100 hours last week. We are not getting much sleep but we were catching fish to the value of £1,000 every day.

“There is no problem with the fishing stocks around here and that is nothing to do with the EU imposed restrictions. Some of the cod are 20lb and they have not grown to that size in the last two years of quotas. The government needs to wake up and come out and inspect the fish that are out there.”

Mr Brookin said the future was looking even more buoyant with him having signed a deal to supply fresh fish to the Never Turn Back pub in Caister.

Mr Brookin, who is in the process of tying up deals with other local pubs and restaurants, said his success was even causing other fishermen to think about coming back full time.

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