NFFO Slams Greenpeace For Failing To Act on Real Issues Affecting UK Fishermen

28th March 2013 in Media

The National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations (NFFO) has slammed claims by international environmental giant Greenpeace as 'unqualified, assumption-based nonsense' which are causing distraction from the industry's critical work on issues affecting the future livelihoods of UK fishermen.

Fishing Industry Body Calls Latest Claims 'Unqualified, Assumption-Based Nonsense'

The National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations (NFFO) has slammed claims by international environmental giant Greenpeace as 'unqualified, assumption-based nonsense' which are causing distraction from the industry's critical work on issues affecting the future livelihoods of UK fishermen.

The Federation, which represents fishermen's groups, individual fishermen and producer organisations in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, said that despite repeated, public invitations Greenpeace has failed to accept its offer to meet and discuss issues or qualify any of its claims, instead opting for a sensationalist media approach which does little to support the real interest of the industry.

Barrie Deas, Chief Executive of the NFFO, said: "Greenpeace are set on creating a sensationalist media storm fuelled by inaccuracies and gross generalisation. This is wasting valuable time and effort better spent dealing with some of the critical issues at hand, including the impact of the CFP reform, under-10s and long term management plans.

"The NFFO has now repeatedly exposed Greenpeace's generalisations and misrepresentations on how the industry works which ultimately only serves to undermine their reputation in the sector. They have yet to approach us direct with any of their assertions and our repeated efforts to meet with them to look at more credible and effective solutions for supporting our fishermen have been ignored. As such it calls into question their real motives."

"Once again we extend our offer to meet with Greenpeace to help put to bed any other inaccurate assumptions they decide to make about our membership."

Greenpeace's most recent attack on the industry body centres around allegations against Anglo-Spanish members of the Fleetwood Fish Producer's Organisation, who it claims are taking quota away from UK vessels. Greenpeace has omitted to point out that local fishermen invited the Anglo-Spanish vessels to join their organisation and that the UK quota under which the Anglo-Spanish vessels operate are based on historical records generated by the Anglo-Spanish vessels themselves, before the quota was allocated to the UK.

Last year the Fleetwood Fish Producer's Organisation contributed £600,000 worth of quota to meet its economic link obligations, which was in the main used for the benefit of under-10 meter fisheries. Also the Anglo Spanish vessels fish entirely different species in completely different areas and are therefore not in competition for quota with local fishermen.

Early in the month Greenpeace was exposed for making false claims around NFFO subscription fees being dominated by non-UK vessels. In previous statements, the NFFO has also criticised the environmental giant's false allegations against membership structure, making clear its membership reflects the diversity of the UK fleet. Just 8% of its member vessels are owned outside the UK.

As part of its commitment to ensuring the fair distribution of quotas, the NFFO shares the view of the Marine Management Organisation that the UK fishing industry is highly compliant with the rules under which it is obliged to operate. It has said any individual vessel operator, irrespective of home port, operating outside these rules it can expect to face the full legal penalties. It has also supported calls for the publication of a register of UK quota to help promote a fairer and more transparent quota system.

Additionally, in the interests of transparency, the Federation has released a breakdown of its membership base in response to Greenpeace's requests and has publically asked Greenpeace to meet to address any issues that they might with to raise on a number of occasions.

For more information about the NFFO or to read the Federation's official responses to Greenpeace's previous allegations visit www.nffo.org.uk