NFFO Urges Under-10s to Appeal

17th March 2009 in TACs and Quotas

The NFFO has urged all fishermen who operate under 10m vessels and have been allocated a limited quota license, under the new split licence system, to appeal against the decision.

“There is a limited time window to appeal. If any fisherman believes that he will be disadvantaged by being placed in the wrong licence category, now is the time to act”, said NFFO Chairman Davy Hill.

“Once the appeals procedure is closed it will be very difficult to change category. But if any skipper thinks that he may have grounds to appeal he should do so without delay “, he said.

“If there was any reason why the vessel could not catch the defined quota species in the reference period (January 2007 –June 2008) he should appeal. The prospects of a successful appeal appear to be quite good. And reasons include family illness or engine breakdown or replacement – as long as some evidence can be produced.”

The NFFO suggests caution about re-registering to Scotland or Wales to escape the new licence arrangements.

“At the moment the under 10metre quota pool is a UK pool but against the background of the devolution settlement and the ambition of the Scottish administration to establish its own quota management system, there is no guarantee that in the future, a Scottish registered vessel might not be able to fish against the English pool and vice versa. Re-registration to the devolved administrations involves some risk.”

“Under-10m fishermen are better advised to put their immediate energies into a well argued appeal”

“The NFFO, along with other industry organisations, argued strenuously against the split licence and for a license buyout programme instead, views that were ignored by Defra. The immediate priority must therefore be to ensure that no bona fide fisherman is disadvantaged, when there is a prospect of securing a full license through appeal.”

“We agree that there is an issue of latent capacity in the under 10-metre sector. Our difficulty is with the way that Defra has gone about dealing with it and the impact of this approach on genuine fishermen. It is vital that the damage is kept to a minimum and we see the appeals mechanism as a way to do this”.NFFO staff are available to help NFFO members prepare their appeals.

The closing date for appeals is 23rd March 2009.