The blockade of St Helier by French fishing vessels and the somewhat hysterical political over-reaction that has included threats to cut off electricity supplies to the island, will hopefully pass without further escalation, when calmer heads are engaged.

No Norway Agreement for 2021

It has become clear that there will be no UK/Norway bilateral fisheries agreement for 2021. At a heads of delegation meeting today (29th April) Norway rejected a UK offer and it was concluded that the talks which have been under way since January could go no further.

UK agrees fishing catch limits with EU and Norway

The UK has reached agreement with the EU and Norway on Total Allowable Catches for jointly managed stocks in the North Sea. The Government statement announcing the deal is reproduced below.

40 Marine Protected Areas in 3 Years

One per month as Government adopts Blitzkrieg approach to management measures.

Future of Inshore Fisheries: Did FOIF die?

The NFFO takes stock of what happened to the Future of Inshore Fisheries Initiative. Amid Covid and the general post-TCA gloom, many are wondering what happened to the Future of Inshore Fisheries initiative. The vivid flash of inspiration and optimism when fishers and managers got together, in October 2019, for the wildly successful FOIF conference seems like an eternity ago. Since then, we have been through the mill and there has been a disturbing silence about the follow up to the conference. The UK’s failure to secure an exclusive 12-mile limit seems like a nail in the coffin lid for the project.

England expects ….. a beating

It may be nothing, but No 10 has replied to the Scottish Fishermen’s letter criticising the outcome of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement with the EU, whilst the NFFO’s letter has gone unanswered.

From Fisheries Science to Fake News

Media coverage of the fishing industry carries its share of overexcited catastrophe narratives.

NFFO Calls on Political Parties to condemn Greenpeace Vigilantes

The NFFO has written to the leaders of the main political parties, and to UK fisheries ministers and shadows, pressing them to condemn Greenpeace’s most recent publicity stunt in unequivocal terms.

Government Agrees to Second Financial Support Package

After weeks of lobbying by the NFFO the Government has announced a further tranche of financial support for the fishing industry. An announcement has been made of a rerun of last April’s Fisheries Response Fund under a new heading of Seafood Response Fund, with a number of adjustments and on a UK rather than an England-only basis. The package will draw on the £23 million fund already announced. The NFFO has made the case that if fishing businesses are to survive this extended period of depleted and disrupted markets, over a period then they still face significant fixed costs, then the Government must again step in. The Government has now responded to those concerns.

The Blame Game

The Herald has published a partial version of the NFFO’s response to ex-MEP Struan Stevenson’s criticisms of the fishing industry. Below we publish the full version.

NFFO Keeps Pressure on for Financial Support

The NFFO has written again to Secretary of State, George Eustice and Fisheries Minister, Victoria Prentis, for a second trance of financial support for fishing businesses which are struggling to survive.

UK/EU Annual Negotiations: A trial of strength is under way masked by the language of cooperation

Undermining Regulatory Autonomy: The first few plenary sessions of the negotiations for a UK/EU fisheries agreement for 2021 have provided a glimpse into the UK’s future relationship with the EU. The online talks are currently under way in the wake of the disastrous outcome to the Trade and Cooperation Agreement concluded on Christmas Eve. The terms of that agreement cede automatic access for EU vessels to fish in UK waters (including the 6-12nm zone) for the next 51/2 years. The UK, however, retains regulatory autonomy over the rules which apply to all vessels fishing within the UK exclusive economic zone. A major battle now looms as the EU seeks to undermine and dilute that autonomy, whilst simultaneously paying lip service to it.

NFFO calls for financial support

The NFFO has written urgently to fisheries ministers making the case for a further tranche of financial support under the Fisheries Response Fund

Sledgehammer to Fishing in MPAs

In a shocking development, the Marine Management Organisation has announced that it intends to ban all forms of towed bottom gears in the Dogger Bank SAC and the majority of three other offshore MPAs. The knock-on effects of this brutal approach will not stay confined to MPAs as fishing activity is displaced from its customary areas. The decision has been taken with zero discussion with those affected.

Need Should be Basis For Additional Quota

The NFFO has written to the Secretary of State, George Eustice, arguing that additional quota secured from the EU should be first and foremost use to address cases where acute quota shortages threaten the viability of fishing vessels.

The New Normal?

No Sign of Border Obstacles Dissipating

A letter to the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson

The NFFO has written in strong terms to the Prime Minister about the Government's portrayal of the UK/EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement as a success on fisheries:

New Era Opens

Annual Fisheries Agreements for 2021: Trilateral and bilateral negotiations have now opened between the UK and adjacent coastal states including EU, Norway and Faeroes. The aim will be to agree (if possible) total allowable catches for shared stocks and other fisheries management measures for 2021. Talks are being held remotely because of the Covid-19 pandemic. In normal circumstances access arrangements to fish in each other’s waters and quota allocations of shared stocks are part and parcel of annual fisheries agreements between coastal states. The UK, however, enters its first annual negotiations with the EU with one hand tied (and will for the next five-and-a-half years) because of the terms of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement with the EU reached on Christmas Eve. Despite this considerable constraint, the talks which begin in earnest this week nevertheless represent a significant watershed.

Short Straits Export Blockages

Calais and Boulogne: despite the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the UK and the EU reached on Christmas eve, there is mounting concern over the export of fish to Europe, centering on obstacles in Calais and Boulogne. The first consignments of the year from Cornwall hit a brick wall of bureaucracy, and similar problems are being faced in relation to prawns exported from North Shields and with direct landings into Holland. At the time of writing one consignment of fish had been delayed 48 hours with attendant loss of quality. There were fears that the customer would reject the whole consignment on arrival. Buyers are warning vessels that purchases at first sale markets will soon be impacted if clear export routes across the narrow straits, compliant with the new customs regime cannot be quickly established.

Taking Stock and Moving Forward

As the old year faded away, and the new year dawns, we lick our wounds and take stock of the tasks that lie in front of us.

Negotiations Outcome

The NFFO weighs up the deal agreed between the UK and the EU on Christmas Eve How, when on fishing rights the UK held all the cards, did we end up with such a paltry result in the UK/EU negotiations for a future relationship?

“Miniscule, Marginal, Paltry, Pathetic”

Some of the adjectives that will be in circulation within the UK fishing industry today, to describe the change in UK quota shares as the UK leaves the EU and the CFP, and the content of what was agreed in Brussels on Christmas eve sinks in. Some of the bell-weather stocks tell the story most vividly, After a further five years adjustment period, the UK’s share of Channel cod will have increased from 9.3% to 10.2%.

Fisheries Deal 24th December 2020

The NFFO will be publishing its reaction shortly to the deal concluded in Brussels this afternoon. In the meantime, please find below, our bare bones understanding of the content of the fisheries section of the agreement.

11th Hour

The NFFO reiterates what is at stake as negotiations with the EU reach the inevitable endgame

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