The NFFO’s East Anglian Committee has highlighted the need for a concerted effort to protect fishing opportunities and the viability of the fleets in the region.
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In a joint statement, Bertie Armstrong of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) and Barrie Deas of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO) said: “As the Prime Minister has made crystal clear, at the conclusion of the transition period in December 2020, the UK will have the legal status, under international law, of an independent coastal state; with rights and responsibilities to manage the fisheries under its jurisdiction within the UK exclusive economic zone.
“We intend to Hold Government to Account on Brexit Commitments” A broad cross-section from all parts of the UK fishing industry, met recently in Manchester to take stock of the UK’s exit negotiations with the EU, and to agree the elements of a campaign to hold the Government to account on its commitments to the fishing industry.
The fishing industry should not underestimate the threat from a new celebrity-led threat to fast-track marine protected areas, devoid of evidence, says the NFFO.
Developing a participatory approach to the management of fishing activity in UK offshore Marine Protected Areas
JNCC and partners the Marine Management Organisation, Natural England, the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations and Bangor University are launching a two-year project exploring participatory processes for establishing, evaluating and adapting fisheries management measures in MPAs that include sedimentary habitats as protected features.
At its most recent meeting, the NFFO Executive Committee unanimously elected Newlyn fisherman, Andrew Pascoe, as the next Chairman of the Federation. He will take over from Mike Cohen at the NFFO annual general meeting later in the summer.
The NFFO comments on where we are after the EU and UK have agreed arrangements for the 21 month transition after the UK leaves the EU in March next year.
The NFFO assesses the recent developments in Brussels
The full implementation of the landing obligation – the requirement to land all quota species – is less than nine months away but there is no sign yet that the problem of choke stocks has been resolved. This is the problem faced in mixed fisheries under the landing obligation when exhaustion of quota in one (possibly minor) species will lead to the closure of the fishery as a whole with fleets tied up for the rest of the year. The vessel, member state, or fleets concerned face a double bind: they are not allowed to retain on board the species concerned but neither are they allowed to return it to the sea, unless a specific exemption has been permitted. Chokes could, in theory, halt some fisheries as early as February each year
An NFFO delegation met recently with Secretary of State, Michael Gove, as the UK and the EU move towards a crucial stage in the negotiations to leave the EU. The Federation reinforced the message, already well understood, that the EU’s aim to tie the UK into the CFP status quo, but with only a notional right to be consulted, would be wholly unacceptable, not only to the UK fishing industry, but to the voting public and strategically important politicians.