TRIBUTES have been paid to two young fishermen whose bodies were discovered on a boat in Whitby harbour.

Police tonight formally identified the men as Mark Arries, 26, from Blyth and Edward Ide, 21, from Amble in Northumberland.

The pair were found dead on a fishing boat moored alongside Pier Road in Whitby harbour on Wednesday morning.

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Their deaths have left the North Yorkshire and Northumberland fishing communities in shock.

In Amble, friends and family laid flowers at the empty berth where the boat involved, the Milford Haven-registered Eschol, is usually moored.

Fisherman Alan Brown, who had known Mr Arries all his life, described him as a "nice lad".

"I cannot believe that it has happened and he won't be here," said Mr Brown.

Retired fisherman Roy Inglis said: "You can imagine the risks at sea - you can go overboard, you can have accidents - but that they ended up that way in harbour, it's really sad."

Police said their deaths are not being treated as suspicious and confirmed the men's families have been informed.

They were part of a group known to many fishermen in Whitby and were believed to have been mooring in the town for several months, heading out to sea to catch scallops along with three or four other boats.

It is believed they had returned to Northumberland for Christmas.

Investigating officers say they do not wish to speculate on the cause of their deaths until further inquiries have been carried out.

There has been speculation locally that carbon monoxide poisoning on the boat may have been to blame, but other possible causes are also being looked into.

Speaking in Whitby on Wednesday, semi-retired fisherman Pete Leadley said fishermen often arrive from way beyond the region, even as far away as the Philippines, to fish for scallops and lobsters and it was common for them to live in their boats while not working.

The Marine Accident Investigation branch, a government body tasked with investigating all accidents involving UK boats and ships, said they had deployed a team and were investigating.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has also been informed.

A date for the opening of an inquest has not yet been set.