A NEW patrol vessel has been commissioned to patrol Rye’s coastline with the aim of protecting fish stocks.
The new boat is operated by The Sussex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority.
It was christened ‘Merlin’ at a special ceremony at Shoreham recently.
The Sussex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority is one of ten IFCAs whose jurisdictions cover the entire coastline of England.
The Sussex IFCA is responsible for the management of marine fisheries and conservation in an area of over 500 square miles of Sussex coastal waters.
To undertake statutory duties the Authority operates specialist inshore craft for enforcement and research activities.
The vessel will operate throughout the Authority’s District that extends 6 nautical miles seaward, and includes Rye Bay.
These shallow coastal seas are some of the most diverse and productive in the country and the district is home to one of the largest coastal fleets in England.
Tim Dapling, from the Authority, explained: “‘The acquisition of the craft was achieved through strong partnership working between the Sussex IFCA and Environment Agency. It will make a major contribution to the protection of Sussex fisheries and the marine environment.
Sussex IFCA has a duty to ma”nage the sustainable exploitation of sea fisheries resources and ensure that the conservation objectives of Marine Conservation Zones are furthered.
“Merlin’ received significant financial support from the Environment Agency, to assist in the management of salmon and sea trout and eel populations in coastal and estuarine waters.
“Sussex IFCA’s aim is: “to lead, champion and manage a sustainable marine environment and inshore fisheries, by successfully securing the right balance between social, environmental and economic benefits to ensure healthy seas, sustainable fisheries and a viable industry”.