Time to Stop Posturing
14 October 2021
A recent event in Lorient, Brittany, provided some insight into the main themes in post-Brexit fishing relations. The seminar mainly involved French fishing industry figures and fisheries administrators, with a smattering of other EU notables and a handful of participants from the UK fishing industry, including the NFFO.
NFFO Demands Transparency over TCA Deal
30 September 2021
The UK fishing industry was shocked at the scale of the UK’s capitulation on fishing on Christmas Eve, 2020. This was a decision made at the highest reaches of Government. And it was made, despite the promises, commitments and assurances made during the Referendum Campaign and throughout the negotiations with the EU. Additional quota shares secured from the EU came nowhere close to what any self-respecting coastal state might expect as their legal right. Access to fish in UK waters – a key bargaining lever in annual fisheries negotiations – was ceded to the EU for 6 years (at least). We even failed to secure an exclusive 12 mile limit, something that most coastal states take for granted.
100 million reasons to be careful: Fisheries Science Partnerships
24 September 2021
The NFFO has warned that the Government’s plans for spending the £100 million promised by the Prime Minister in the wake of the TCA fiasco in December 2020 to help regenerate the fishing industry, could be siphoned off – with little benefit for grass-roots fishermen.
Annual Fisheries Negotiations: Preparations for 2022 under way
21 September 2021
Only a few short months after the annual fisheries agreement for 2021 between the UK and EU was concluded, preparations are under way for talks about total allowable catches and associated rules which will apply in 2022.
Austin Mitchell MP
20 August 2021
The fishing industry in England never had a truer, more constant friend in Westminster than Austin Mitchell MP. His commitment to and interest in the fishing industry ran well beyond his constituency interests and lasted beyond his long career as MP for Great Grimsby. Austin was outraged by the UK’s acquiescence to the exploitative relationship on fisheries between the UK and the EEC in 1973 that lay at the heart of the Common Fisheries Policy from its origins. He was rightly suspicious that history would repeat itself in the negotiations leading to the Trade and Cooperation Agreement with the EU in December 2020. Austin played a significant part the industry’s titanic opposition to the UK Government's attempts to limit time at sea for every fishing vessel in the country, to meet EU fleet reduction targets on the cheap. His rousing speech was the centrepiece of a rally of 3000 fishermen gathered organised by the NFFO in Westminster Hall in July 1992. In hundreds of smaller struggles, and parliamentary debates, Austin was on our side. Gifted with an infection sense of fun, he was none-the-less an impassioned and eloquent parliamentary performer, always taking time to ensure his arguments were soundly based in fact. Sheer force of personality made him a unique and highly visible player in Westminster, even if his maverick political positions on a range of issues denied him the high office that his talents equipped him for.
HPMA Selection Process Rigged to Harm Fishing Communities
19 July 2021
The government’s process to select Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) needs a rethink. It is deliberately relegating human use issues to a second tier to be considered only once sites have been identified exclusively based on a set of ecological criteria. Instead, it should prioritise the search for sites that fulfil ecological criteria in areas where there are synergies with existing human uses of the marine environment.
David Linkie 1954 – 2021
21 June 2021
The news of David Linkie’s untimely death will have saddened hearts across the UK fishing industry. As journalist, photographer and editor for Fishing News, David forged a breath-taking range of friendships and contacts across nations, regions, ports, vessel sizes and sectors.
UK-EU Fisheries Agreement: Taking Stock
11 June 2021
The UK and EU have just concluded their first annual bilateral fisheries agreement made under the terms of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement. The negotiations and annual agreement have been heavily shaped and constrained by the limitations imposed by the TCA. The outcomes also reflect the UK’s new legal status as an independent coastal state. The tensions created by these two divergent trajectories go a long way to explaining the shape and content of the deal for 2021.
UK-EU Fisheries Agreement for 2021
7 June 2021
The marathon 5-month negotiation between the UK and the EU for a fisheries agreement for 2021 has concluded with a settlement. Some details on the written record are still being finalised but the Secretary of State for the UK and the Fisheries Commissioner for the EU have both announced agreement in principle.
The Seafarers’ Charity and Commsave Credit Union announce new financial support for fishing families
18 May 2021
A revolutionary new initiative funded by The Seafarers’ Charity will provide access to a range of affordable financial services for fishing families. The Fishing Without a Safety Net research commissioned by the Charity demonstrated that new interventions were needed to create a better financial safety net for fishing families. The first significant solution emerging from the research findings sees Commsave Credit Union open its services to the UK fishing community on 14 April 2021.
Latest Blog Posts
Decarbonisation: Climate Emergency
7 October 2021
The UN Climate Change Summit in Glasgow this coming October and November, will bring world attention to the link between greenhouse gasses and climate change. The UK Government will want to earn the prestige associated with hosting a successful summit. A successful summit will include commitments to new ambitious targets for the reduction of greenhouse gasses - in particular carbon dioxide.
The Politics of Division
24 September 2021
It is not that difficult to exploit divisions in the fishing industry. We are a complex, multi-faceted, diverse industry, targeting a wide range of different species. We operate inshore and offshore with a bewildering range of gears, fishing from different ports, in vessel sizes that range from under 8 metres to over 100 metres. Quota shares are always divisive because they are a zero-sum game. More fundamentally, who receives a licence to fish and what kind of licence, involves political and administrative choices that can generate much heat and friction within the fishing industry.
Climate Smart Fisheries: Protected Areas or Sustainable Livelihoods?
9 September 2021
Adapting to climate change and reducing dependence on fossil fuels is something that the fishing industry, along with every other part of the economy is going to have to address. Some NGOs are making the argument that the solution lies with more marine protected areas. However, going all-out on MPAs as a “cure-all” for our seas risks perverse outcomes and real harm to coastal fishing communities. Dale Rodmell argues the case for a more cooperative approach that illuminates pathways to sustainable marine livelihoods that can deliver much more, and in the long run, be more adaptive to climate change.
Can Fisheries Co-exist with Offshore Wind in the Race to Carbon Net Zero?
2 June 2021
The Government’s Net Zero ambition signals a massive expansion in the scale and extent of offshore wind farms, but it also supercharges concerns over the spatial squeeze now being experienced by fishers who face losing access to their fishing grounds. NFFO Assistant Chief Executive, Dale Rodmell, who recently presented the issues to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Fisheries(1), makes the case for the need for a planning system that can deliver on co-existence.
Dogger Bank: Back to Remote Control
16 March 2021
“Closed” rather than co-management characterises the government’s first post-Brexit steps to defining its approach to fisheries management after the Common Fisheries Policy. Dale Rodmell examines the current proposals for this iconic site and what it signals for stakeholder participation in fisheries.