The government has done a U-turn on new rules that were causing some in the fishing fleet a huge amount of stress.

The Conservative administration last year brought in a requirement for men and women working on vessels measuring 10 metres and under to have a certificate of medical fitness.

The new rules were seen by many in the industry as a treat to their livelihoods.

Faced with vocal opposition to the regulations, the government has decided to effectively drop them.

Conservative St Austell and Newquay MP Steve Double was among those who voiced opposition.

He said: “Our under-10 fleet which is particularly important in communities such as Mevagissey and Newquay have been disproportionately impacted by these changes and I have made the case to government for them to change course here.

“I was pleased in doing so to engage widely with fishermen from around my constituency who in turn fed evidence back to the consultation.”

“It is good to see the government listening and act accordingly.”

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: “This government backs our fishing industry, which is why we have listened to fishing communities and are easing the burden on small-scale fishermen to make sure they can continue their work unhindered.

“Our fishing sector will be able to continue operating safely, protected by our world-leading safety standards while supporting the UK fishing industry that forms the backbone of so many coastal economies.”

Fisheries Minister Mark Spencer said: “Vessels of 10 metres and under form a vital part of the UK’s fishing industry and we’re taking action to ensure those who work on them will not face the cost of medical assessments.

“Following our consultation, we’ve listened to the industry, and these changes will allow fishermen to continue their important work productively and as safely as possible.”

The regulations required crews working on small vessels to have a certificate of medical fitness. Exemptions were initially granted for eyesight, BMI, diabetes and seasonal workers, and have now been extended to all existing small-scale crew members.