Major NFFO Policy Review on Brown Crab

26th February 2010 in Shellfish, Shellfish

Brown Crab will be the focus for a comprehensive examination of policy when the NFFO Shellfish Committee meets in London on 9th March.

Brown Crab will be the focus for a comprehensive examination of policy when the NFFO Shellfish Committee meets in London on 9th March. The Committee will examine and respond to recent reports on the state of the fisheries and management. One of these, “Future Management of Brown Crab in UK and Ireland”, which featured in the Fishing News (29th January 2010) is the outcome of work commissioned by the UK and Republic of Ireland Brown Crab Working Group, an industry led group which includes the Federation. This formed in 2008 to address the slumping markets that have plagued the industry, and progress conservation measures that have been mired for the past decade. The Committee will also examine the results of recent stocks assessment work undertaken by Cefas that has assessed the majority of the fisheries to be overfished.

NFFO Shellfish Committee Chairman, Gary Hodgson said: “In the past shellfish has tended to take a back seat to whitefish in the eyes of fisheries managers but it is clear this is now starting to change. With this in mind, it is important that shellfishermen from all coasts take the lead through their representative bodies in deciding on how the fisheries should be managed in the future. We have always been clear that the regional differences in the fleet mean that whatever approach emerges, it must be one that is tailored to suit these differences.”

“This meeting marks the start of a major review of Federation policy. We have already been working with a wide range of other industry organisations to draw together an evidence base to inform the way forward. The fact that such collaboration is taking place shows there is a broad appetite as well as the means to secure a profitable and sustainable future for the fleet on the industry’s own terms. It is essential that we achieve this rather than face the possibility of the Commission at some later stage indiscriminately wielding a big stick over the industry. The last thing anyone in this industry would want would be to look back in another ten years to see the unhappy story of whitefish repeating itself here.”

The meeting follows in the wake of recent moves by the UK and Republic of Ireland vivier fleet to progress voluntary measures to limit landings in a bid to stem a collapse in market prices as the spring crabbing season gets underway.

The Federation will take forward the results of the review in negotiations with other industry organisations, and in talks with Defra, where it is anticipated a formal government consultation on conservation measures will be forthcoming.

NFFO members from around the regions are strongly encouraged to send representation to this meeting to take part in the review process. The meeting will take place on 9th March at One Queen Anne’s Gate, London, SW1H 9BT, commencing at 11am. Those intending to attend should notify the NFFO Offices on 01904 635430.