People visiting a busy working harbour have been urged to respect it in order that it continue to remain fully open.

Chris Pryor, harbour master, has written an open letter to the community and visitors of Coverack, on behalf of Coverack Harbour Company.

In it he said that there was "increasing pressure" from authorities to restrict access to the harbour and block parts of it off - something that the Harbour Company didn't want to do.

However, he said that to prevent that from happening people need to take note of the safety warnings and remind others to act responsibly at the small harbour, which sees both commercial and private vessels in use.

Mr Pryor wrote: "Over the years we have done our best to keep the harbour as it always has been. Yet there have been some changes - more machinery, more commercial craft and more registered fishing boats.

"Also, due to the popularity of the village there are also more people on the harbour, using it for leisure and to relax – why not. It is a truly special place.

"Sadly, as the world turns and things move forward the Harbour Company is under increasing pressure from health and safety bodies to consider restricting access to the harbour.

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"This includes blocking off large areas of the harbour; namely the immediate areas around the hoist used by boats - where fishermen tie up and unload - and all sets of steps. "These are suggested considerations but NOT what we want to undertake as a close-knit community village."

He warned that it would "not take much to aggravate the situation" and turn these from suggested considerations into mandatory actions though.

"This will have a massive effect on harbour users. If this is the case, large areas of the harbour will be fenced and gated off and there will not be the freedom to move on the harbour and to use the water. The Harbour Company is very aware that this means that days, evenings and even holidays will not be the same for many people," he said.

This was not something company members wanted to do, but they needed people's help, he warned.

Mr Pryor said some changes would be introduced in order to have "minimal impact" on harbour life as much as possible.

These are likely to include extra signs on the harbour, especially coronavirus related, and some barriers may be placed to help protect the boat users and visitors. The hoist areas are also likely to have to be cordoned off.

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"We urge you to take the time to read signs, respect the barriers and perhaps remind others to act responsibly.

"Furthermore, we ask you when you are enjoying your time on the harbour to always be aware of the possibility of boats coming and going out to sea.

"Remember that vehicles do also need to move around the harbour and that when we are launching boats we do need to close the harbour for a short period for your own, and our, safety," he said.

"If we can all do that, if we can ease in our minds that everyone who uses and everyone that enjoys the harbour is being thoughtful and respectful, then we can hopefully keep Coverack Harbour as accessible as possible and the place that we know and love.

"Times are changing and we do all need to evolve, but please help us keep the changes finite and the drastic changes at bay."