Mike Cohen – NFFO Chairman - Personal remarks to the NFFO AGM, held this year in London in Fishmongers Hall
In just a few minutes I cease not only to be the Chairman of the NFFO, but also - for the time being,…
The diversity of the NFFO’s membership is one of its most noticeable features. Our membership ranges from 60 metre freezer trawlers that operate in distant waters to small, inshore, beach-launched, boats - and every size in between.
The fishing methods employed by our members embrace inkwell and parlour crab and lobster pots, whelk pots, static gill nets, trammel nets, stern trawls, whitefish otter trawls, whitefish freezer trawlers, pelagic freezer trawlers, beam trawls, long-lines, rod and line, pelagic trawl, nephrops trawls, seine-nets, salmon and sea trout drift nets and T and J nets, scallop dredges, ring-nets, jigger/lures and tuna pole and line.
With these methods our members target over sixty separate species.
The main fisheries which NFFO members prosecute are the:
North Sea and west of Scotland mixed demersal fishery
North Sea and West of Scotland targeted saithe fishery
North Sea plaice and sole beam trawl
North Sea seine net (fly shooter) fishery
Celtic Sea and Channel mixed demersal fishery
Celtic Sea and Channel beam trawl fishery (monk and megrim)
Celtic Sea targeted hake fishery
Inshore gill net fishery
Inshore trawl fishery
Deep Sea long-line fishery
Inshore shellfish crab and lobster fishery
Offshore vivier brown crab fishery
Area VII Hake net fishery
Area VIII Tuna pole and line fishery
Sardine ring net fishery
North Sea nephrops fishery
Deep water monkfish fishery
Bristol Channel ray fishery
Irish Sea whitefish fishery
Irish Sea nephrops fishery
Pelagic fisheries for Western and North Sea mackerel and North Sea and Channel herring
Irish Sea herring fishery
Irish Sea plaice fishery
Bass static net, rod and line and trawl fisheries
North East Drift net fishery for salmon and trout
Channel flatfish fishery
North Norway (Barents Sea) cod fishery
Greenland cod, halibut and redfish fisheries
Iceland redfish fishery
NAFO (Canadian shelf) cod fishery
Mutual Support: in unity lies strength
Representing these diverse fisheries undoubtedly presents a logistical and communications challenge. But in unity lies strength. The Federation has always operated on the principle of mutuality: I help you when you are in trouble and you help me when I need support. So, when a member’s fishery is under pressure, for whatever reason, the Federation’s resources are directed at that fishery, to support the members, argue their case and find solutions.
There are many advantages to a diverse fishing industry. Adapting fishing patterns to a variety of economic and ecological niches guards against over-reliance on a few species or markets that can make the fleets vulnerable. But it is also true that a small fishery, or group of fishermen, can lack political clout, unless they build alliances with other fishermen. From that realization it is only a logical step to regional (or fishing method) groupings, and then to national and even international groupings, such as the NFFO and regional advisory councils.
Supporting each other, making common cause, resisting splits, overcoming frictions, covering each others’ backs, is the NFFO way. This was the core idea when the Federation was established and it remains our guiding principle.