Fishermen could find a new profession as treasure hunters.

English Heritage is launching a year-long pilot scheme in Sussex this month in an attempt to create an ordered log of historical finds uncovered by the fishing community.

The heritage group is working with Sussex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority and the 300 fishermen setting out from Sussex ports every day.

It is estimated that historical finds are being made by fisherman every day and that up to 1,000 finds a month could be unearthed.

The project has already seen its first success with a 12th century relic that a fisherman had been using as a doorstop.

The item is believed to have come from Normandy or even Spanish travellers and was discovered by Littlehampton fisherman Gary Edwards in Chichester Harbour.

Laser scanning will now be carried out on an inscription on the item to unlock its past.

The seabed around the Sussex coast is teeming with archaeological remains ranging from Second World War aircraft to Roman relics to axe hands and coal from Neolithic camps dating back to a time when the sea bed was land.

Experts are not ruling out the possibility that fishermen could benefit financially from finds, possibly even on a scale of the £2.7 million discovery of the Staffordshire Hoard.

Part of the programme is designed to simplify the raft of legislation that comes into play under the sea including treasure trove, shipwrecks and military property.

Representatives from the fishing community will advise any fishermen who uncover finds in the fishing ports of Brighton, Shoreham, Newhaven, Littlehampton, Chichester, Selsey and Eastbourne.

The county has been chosen as the site for the pilot in part because of links already established with the archaeological community, the wide range of fishing types in action along the coast and the high number of archaeological sites and wrecks in the English Channel.

Have you ever found an unusual discovery off the Sussex coast? If so we want to hear about it. Call Neil Vowles on 01273 544530, email or leave a comment below.