Crab and lobster fishermen in Gwynedd are concerned that plans to close parts of the sea bed off Lleyn to them could affect their livelihoods.

They argue the traditional ‘pot’ method of fishing is sustainable and that restrictions are not needed.

The Welsh Government said consultation has not yet started, but highly protected areas are essential.

Despite the concerns, fishermen and local companies say there is plenty of fish available and a ready market.

Sion Williams, the secretary of the Lleyn Pot Fisherman’s Association, says closing off areas of the sea will not work.

“We have territory which we fish, and although we do cross over we mostly stay in those areas,” he said. “If that area is closed then there will be displacement of not just the fishermen but also of their gear (boat and pots etc) so the impact on other grounds will be more.”

Mr Williams says there are around 36 of the smaller (up to 10m long) boats currently registered on the Lleyn, with less than half of those providing full-time employment.

The 38-year-old began fishing in 1987 while he was still at school and said there were six boats fishing from Porth Colmon at that time, but it was now down to three, with only himself working full-time.

As there is no harbour, the boats are launched off the beach, allowing Mr Williams about four hours at sea depending on the tide.

He would not be drawn on figures, claiming he wanted to stay competitive, but said he has “hardly drawn a wage” over the past six weeks because of the weather.

The produce is sold to an Anglesey company to sell on to markets in the UK, France and Spain, but Selective Seafood in Tudweiliog on the Lleyn also processes his catch.

And Mr Williams said fishermen want to be involved in the future of the industry by becoming involved in collecting data for future conservation work.

BBC © 2012