North West Norfolk MP James Wild.

North West Norfolk MP James Wild has defended fishermen who are battling to save their livelihoods.

Mr Wild has been contacted by a number of fishermen who have been left angered after being told the cockle fishery will be closed during the summer.

The decision, taken by the Eastern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (EIFCA), was made due to fears over stocks not meeting the bird food model threshold.

Speaking during a debate in parliament on Tuesday over the UK’s inshore fishing fleet, Mr Wild said: “King’s Lynn continues to be a busy port with cockles, shrimp, and whelks caught in The Wash. 

“However, fisherman are very concerned at the recent decision by the Eastern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority, the EIFCA, not to open the cockle fishery this year. 

“It’s a very worrying time for the fisherman, concerned for the loss of their livelihood, and the impact on those who crew the vessels, through to those in the processing factories.”

Victoria Prentis, minister for fisheries, has pledged to meet Mr Wild to discuss the issue further.

She said:  “Inshore fishery and conservation authorities vary in their effectiveness and I think it is really important this IFCA continues to meet the sector and that they continue to talk through solutions and any schemes that exist. 

“This is clearly a very difficult situation for the local fishermen.”