Until yesterday, provision for the self-employed was the biggest gap in the UK Government’s unprecedented package of financial support measures to mitigate the economic shock caused by the coronavirus health emergency. There is no doubting the scale of the ambition and the clear intention behind the steps taken so far.
Latest News View news by tag View all news
An announcement is expected within the next 24/48 hours on package of support that will help self-employed share-fishermen impacted by the coronavirus. A proposal has been submitted to the Treasury for decision. Whilst no guarantees are being given, there are high expectations that this new package will fill some of the gaps in the economic support measures announced so far. Self-employed share-fishermen are not eligible for the support given to wage earners (80% of earnings up to £2500 per month) and so it is imperative that the government acts urgently to fill this gap.The announcement on share fishermen is likely to be part of a package on measures for the self-employed more generally.
In compliance with the Government’s instructions to limit attendance at workplaces, the NFFO office in York will be closing with immediate effect. This does not mean in any way that the Federation will cease to function. At this crucial time, it will continue to represent fishermen and vessel operators across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, albeit through different means than travelling to face-to-face meetings.
The Government has reacted to the potential health and economic damage caused by the pandemic, by announcing interventions on a scale not seen before outside mobilisation for war. New measures to encourage social distancing and to limit economic damage are being announced daily, with the aim of saving lives and preventing heath support systems being overwhelmed. Within the economy and society, individuals, businesses and organisations are taking their own steps to mitigate the impact of the temporary but massive crisis.
A joint fishing sector/government action group has been formed to work on urgent measures to support the fishing industry through the coronavirus emergency. The virus has created a public health emergency, as well a profound economic crisis. The most immediate effect is being felt in a liquidity crisis in fishing businesses, where demand has reduced, and in some cases dried completely. The picture is a mixed one, with shellfish bearing the brunt of the crisis in its early stages.
Dialogue has begun between the NFFO and the Government on how best to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the fishing industry over its duration.
The recently formed Shellfish Industry Advisory Group met recently in London for its second meeting to plan out its work programme. The new group is in Government seen as being at the cutting edge of co-management, where the fishers, fisheries managers and fisheries scientists work together to manage specific fisheries as partners.
The UK’s new status as an independent coastal state was widely recognised at a recent seminar held at the North Atlantic Seafood Conference in Bergen. An audience of invited guests heard from a panel which included representatives from the Norwegian, Faeroese and Danish pelagic organisations along with the NFFO. The seminar was organised by Norge Sildesalgslag.
The tectonic plates of European and internal UK politics are shifting. One consequence of this is that fishing has been thrust into a political prominence not seen since the cod wars with Iceland in the 1970s. Fishing rights have become one of the most emblematic issues associated with the UK’s departure from the EU. The NFFO examines where this shift will take the UK fishing industry.
The EU’s negotiating mandate for the future relationship with the UK has been published. It is reproduced below, along with an NFFO commentary. The negotiations will begin in early March.