Page last updated at 14:28 GMT, Friday, 27 November 2009

Trawlermen given Cod War payouts by Lord Mandelson

A fishing trawler
Trawlermen are being compensated for the Cod Wars of the 1970s

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson is making the first compensation payments under a new scheme to trawlermen involved in the Cod Wars of the 1970s.

Former Icelandic-water trawlermen from Hull, Grimsby, Aberdeen and Fleetwood will benefit from the scheme.

Lord Mandelson will hand over cheques during a visit to Hull.

It is expected that around 1,000 former trawlermen who lost their livelihoods will receive compensation payments totalling between £5m-£10m.

Lord Mandelson said: "Distant water trawling is one of the most arduous and hazardous of occupations. These men lost their livelihoods through no fault of their own and deserve just treatment.

"The new scheme is a much fairer deal and means that the group of trawlermen that received unreasonably low payments under the previous scheme - around one in six - will now receive additional compensation."

'Twilight years'

Michael Neve, a former trawlerman who spent 20 years at sea and who benefited from the scheme, said: "I know this final payment will be gratefully received amongst the fishermen, like me, who are getting this final payment.

"It will give a bit of support to the men who worked in this once great fishing community and the hazardous conditions of deep sea fishing who are now entering their twilight years."

About 2,500 claims under the new scheme have been received.

The new payments will be based on aggregate service on vessels that fished in Icelandic waters, rather than the previous scheme which was based on continuous service.

The Royal Navy was sent to protect British ships from disruption by Icelandic vessels in the Cod Wars of the 1970s.

The UK objected to Iceland's declaration of control over a 200-mile fishing limit but the two nations eventually came to an agreement.

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