Page last updated at 15:59 GMT, Friday, 20 June 2008 16:59 UK

Fishermen's trawler race protest

The Brixham Trawler Race has been changed this year to preserve fuel

An historic trawler race at a Devon port is to be cut from two laps to one in a protest at high fuel costs.

About 20 fishing boats are taking part in the annual Brixham trawler race on Saturday.

Organisers had feared fuel had become so expensive that the whole event, which raises money for charity, would have to be cancelled this year.

Fishing crews have decided to go-ahead but will only complete one lap of the course which is approximately 16 miles.

A boat which cost 8,000 to fill with fuel last year now costs 18,000
John Traves, Brixham Trawler Race

They will cross the finish line, in Brixham harbour, in formation, as a gesture of defiance at the effect fishermen say fuel costs are having on their industry.

John Traves, secretary of the Board of Brixham Trawler Race Association, said: "The trawler industry is in great distress at the moment. A boat which cost 8,000 to fill with fuel last year now costs up to 18,000 to fill."

A fishing boat could do about two or three trips, each lasting approximately five days on one load of fuel.

Mr Traves said Brixham town council had donated 1,000 towards the competitors' costs and each crew would get 50 irrespective of size.

He said while it was not a huge amount in financial terms it had a "huge" symbolic significance as a sign of support from the town to its fishermen at "the most troubled time in their history".

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