THE lucrative shellfish industry on the Yorkshire Coast must be safeguarded, says the North-Eastern Sea Fisheries Committee.

David McCandless, the chief fishery officer, said the coast had become one of the most productive shellfish areas in the country.

But he said that the industry must work with the committee and other organisations to ensure a sustainable future.

The committee has been awarded funding for a pilot study to look at development of charter fishing trips.

Whitby is one of the top ports in Britain for taking out parties of sea anglers in charter-boats and it has become a significant part of the town's economy.

Mr McCandless said money has also been secured to produce a report on the number of sea bass in the area -one of the fastest growing catches on the coast.

Meanwhile, a study on prohibited trawling areas off Whitby and Filey is to be carried out next spring.