President’s Opening Remarks at the NFFO AGM held in York on 23rd July 2008

14th August 2008 in NFFO

We meet in the most difficult of times. The rapid increase in fuel prices to unprecedented levels, combined with our reliance on the auction system (which prevents us from simply passing on higher costs) has put the fishing industry in a uniquely vulnerable position.

President’s Opening Remarks at the NFFO AGM held in York on 23rd July 2008

Finding a way through this crisis is of course the priority issue for the NFFO.

The crisis has many different levels:

  • At vessel level, where there are problems of crewing, relations with the banks, the struggle to put together a viable trip, difficult decisions about the future
  • At port or regional level, where POs and fishermen’s associations are under extreme pressure to provide support
  • At national level, where ministers hold the key to both short term support and longer term adjustment and must ensure that our industry doesn’t have to face the double disadvantage of dealing with high fuel costs and distorted competition
  • At EU level where policy decisions can have life or death consequences for the industry

The NFFO’s role is at the national and EU levels but we have always recognised that it is vital that the organisation is responsive to the views and opinions at port and vessel level. This is why the member POs and fishermen’s organisations play such an essential linking role within the Federation and why I would like to pay particular tribute to them today. It is true to say that where there are strong and active organisations in the ports and in the regions, the Federation will have sure and solid foundations.

Today we have representatives from all parts of the coast, reflecting the Federation’s varied membership. I think that it’s worth saying that although sometimes accommodating the aspirations of all the different fleets and groups of members can be a challenge, it is also a source of strength. The NFFO is the only body representing fishermen which is inclusive – we represent all fishermen, on all of the issues that affect them, all of the time. The NFFO is represented at all of the fora that matter in the UK and in Europe and has the whole industry’s interests at heart. I sometimes think that we take for granted the sheer workload that is taken on behalf of our members behalf and it is right and proper that we should recognise it here.