NFFO Exec Meets the MMO

7th June 2010 in Domestic Fisheries Policy, Executive

NFFO Exec Meets the MMO Marine Management Organisation, Chief Executive, Steven Gant and his top team met recently with the NFFO Executive Committee at the MMO’s new headquarters in Newcastle.

The meeting provided an opportunity to discuss how the Federation and the new delivery body for marine policy will work together in the future. It was agreed to hold regular meetings throughout the year through which the fishing industry’s concerns can be addressed.

Steven Gant was at pains to emphasise that although the MMO would have the responsibility of regulating the industry on the basis of ruled laid down in Brussels and London, he wanted the Organisation to play a central role in revitalising the fishing industry and fishing and coastal communities generally. He was eager to discuss and explore the Federation’s ideas for moving fisheries regulation from a system characterised by extreme micro-management to one with a high degree of delegated industry responsibility.

The NFFO was keen to understand the MMO’s role in overseeing the new system of marine planning and asked if it would resolve problems seen with the chaotic and rushed establishment of marine conservation zones and offshore wind-farms. The potential for displacing fishermen from their customary fishing grounds was emphasised.

Industry Issues

By way of example, the opportunity was taken to outline a number of areas in which the industry currently faced difficulties in the implementation of CFP or domestic fisheries policies. These included:

  • Margin of tolerance
  • Omega Gauge
  • Electronic logbooks
  • International Swaps
  • Mandatory real-time fish room charts
  • Inspections at sea
  • Safeguards in the use of VMS data
  • Discards
  • Quota availability for catch quota projects
  • Devolved responsibilities for fisheries, where discriminatory approaches had an impact elsewhere in the UK

This was an important and positive first meeting which established strong lines of communication between the NFFO and the MMO at a number of levels. The MMO Chief Executive’s commitment to operate on a transparent and open basis and to work closely with the Federation sent a welcome signal. Doubtless, given the nature of fisheries regulation and fisheries politics there will be testing times ahead but this was a good start in the relationship between two organisations that hold influential but different roles in UK fisheries.