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Shellfish boss warns 100 jobs at risk

PUBLISHED: 14:41 28 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:06 22 October 2010

Up to 100 jobs could be lost in Norfolk's shellfish industry if fisherman are not given permission to scare eider ducks from their mussel beds in The Wash.

Up to 100 jobs could be lost in Norfolk's shellfish industry if fisherman are not given permission to scare eider ducks from their mussel beds in The Wash.

The stark prediction was made by Neil Lake, from King's Lynn-based John Lake Shellfish, as the second day of a public inquiry got under way in Boston today.

Fishermen applied for licenses to scare eider away from their mussel beds, claiming the birds were eating their mussel stocks.

But English Nature and the RSPB claim other species of birds would be affected and "industrial-scale" shellfish production is damaging The Wash.

Today Mr Lake told the inquiry: "The position is very simple. If lay holders can't have eiders scared by regular wild fowling and or electronic scaring 24/7 during the eider season backed up with a license from DEFRA to shoot eider on the lay, I will not re-lay more mussels.

"The risk of further major losses is one which simply can't be taken. The consequences of refusal of these licences will be serious.

"There will be up to 100 jobs lost in the industry in The Wash that work the mussel beds and processes and distribute the mussels."

The inquiry is expected to end on Friday. A decision by the Environment Minister is expected later this year.


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