Fragmented and United

8th December 2010 in NFFO

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

Whelk 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

Mussel Production

Inshore shrimp

Cockle gathering

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.