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“Watershed Meeting” with the MMO
An NFFO team met recently with the Chief Executive of the Marine Management Organisation to discuss the future of fisheries management and the future role of the MMO.
NFFO Chief Executive Barrie Deas said after the meeting:
“It is no secret that we have been highly critical of the MMO and have called for an independent review of the organisation. The fishing industry needs and deserves a regulator that is effective, responsive and professional. At best the MMO has been sub-optimal and at worst dysfunctional.”
“This meeting felt different from those in the past when we have been fobbed off with assurances, promises and management-speak. Time will tell, but with the new MMO Chief Executive, there seems to be a new dynamism and willingness to address fundamental issues rather that treating the symptoms of malaise. It feels like some sort of watershed has taken place.”
“Experience has shown that effective regulation requires a minimum of consent from those whose activities are being regulated. The best regulation is based fully on a comprehensive partnership approach. It was refreshing, therefore, that the MMO were themselves suggesting joint initiatives with the NFFO on delivering an EMFF grants system that is easily accessible by working fishermen; a campaign against the illegal sale of fish from unlicensed angling boats; and industry involvement right at the start of policy initiatives and the application of new technologies.”
“The current Government spending review, which seeks cuts of 40% is going to force regulators to become more streamlined and to cut out duplication and overlaps and seek efficiencies. The NFFO signalled its willingness to work closely with the MMO to ensure that whatever comes out at the end of this process of change is effective, practical, and respected by the fishing industry.
“Over the last decade, the NFFO has been at the forefront of a change in the way that fisheries scientists work with the fishing industry and there is now reason why we can’t achieve the same with the fisheries regulators.”