FISHERMEN in Selsey have been getting back on their feet following the storms at the beginning of the year.
Livelihoods were shattered by the weather, which were labelled in February as ‘devastating’ by Tony Delahunty, a Selsey fisherman who is also chairman of a national industry organisation.
However, this week Chichester District Council announced there could be a ray of sunshine for the fishermen, as the council said government grants were starting to come through to support the businesses.
Myles Cullen, cabinet member for commercial services at the council, said: “The fishing industry in Selsey is worth £1.5m to the local economy which is a significant amount.
“Our economic development team was able to assist the fishermen in a number of ways to enable them to recover from the economic effects of the storm damage so that they can continue with their livelihoods.
“This, combined with the fine weather we have experienced over the summer has meant that the Selsey fishermen have been able to make up the lost earnings which is fantastic news.
“The economic development team continues to work closely with the fishermen offering ongoing practical support.”
According to the council, the economic development team helped several of the fishermen apply for the government grants that were specifically set up to help the fishing industry recover from hardship experienced as a direct result of the storms.
The fishermen were unable to go out to sea for three months because of the severe weather.
On top of this, the storms also caused serious damage to their fishing gear stored on the beach.
The grants have allowed the fishermen to claim back 60 per cent of the costs of replacing expensive equipment such as pots and lines.
The economic development team also worked closely with the council’s senior engineer and environmental team so a storm gate could be installed on Selsey Beach.
Other work carried out to help the fishermen land their catch safely included re-profiling the shingle at East Beach after it shifted and banked up in the storms.