Mature and responsible fisheries management frequently requires necessary trade-offs between different objectives. By weighing the pros and cons and using the best available evidence, it is possible to edge towards the best all-round outcomes, gaining here, sacrificing there. It is what adults do every day of their lives after they learn, quite early on that “you can’t have it all.”
Latest News View news by tag View all news
Negotiations with the EU have bounced back centre stage, as time to reach an agreement of the UK’s future relationship with the EU runs out. Both parties have said that mid-October is the latest point that a deal could be signed in time for the ratification procedures to take place before the end of the transition period on 31st December.
Elspeth Macdonald and Barrie Deas, chief executives of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) and National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO) respectively, said: “For the fishing industry in the UK, leaving the Common Fisheries Policy has always been about redressing a fundamental issue: the woefully unfair allocation of quota shares in our waters, where the EU fleet has an unfettered right of access to the UK’s rich fishing grounds and fish five times more in UK waters than we fish in theirs.
It is difficult to glean much from the official statements made by the EU and the UK after each round in the intensified UK/EU negotiations on their future relationship. Every statement has to be understood in terms of each side positioning for advantage in the talks. The overall impression, however, is quite substantial progress on many fronts but very wide gaps on a few – including a huge gulf on fisheries. The political ambition on both sides is to reach a deal but the Prime Minister and Chief Negotiator, David Frost, have made it clear that on fisheries the EU will have to travel a very long way from its current position – which is very close to the status quo – if a deal is to be made. The Commission is operating under a mandate from the member states which makes compromise impossible. These two opposing factors make the likelihood on no deal, at present, the most likely outcome. In the event of no-deal on a fisheries framework agreement, the EU would have to make a judgement whether the self-harm it would inflict on itself as well as the UK, by withholding a trade deal, would be the right course of action, notwithstanding the rhetoric generated throughout the negotiations. If it made good on its threats, the UK would trade with the EU on WTO terms from 1st January.
The Shellfish Industry Advisory Group established in November last year has made substantial progress, despite the crisis in the shellfish markets caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
A recent teleconference organised by Defra, was held to discuss the contents of the Benyon Report, by ex-Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon, on Highly Protected Marine Areas. The meeting revealed the strength of feeling across the fishing industry against an attempt to shoehorn No Take Zones into the already established process for designating and managing marine protected areas.
Of the eight objectives included in the Fisheries Bill, five of them relate to fishing sustainably. And that’s fine. Without a functioning ecosystem and policies which limit fishing to safe levels, there will be no fishing industry. It makes sense too, from an economic perspective, for our management decisions to aim to achieve maximum yields, where that is a reasonable option. What fisherman would be against high sustainable yields?
Government, the national fishing federations and the Fishermen’s Mission share a commitment to the whole fishing industry. This means not only the fishing businesses that make up the sector - but also the crews who work on the vessels as owner/operators, self-employed share-fishermen, or fishermen under employment contracts.
A small delegation from the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations met recently (remotely) with Chief Negotiator, David Frost. The meeting took place ahead of five weeks of intensive negotiations designed to put momentum back into efforts to reach a deal on the future UK/EU relationship.
The latest version of the FishSAFE unit, the essential safety information tool for fishermen working near offshore oil and gas infrastructure in the UK Continental Shelf, is now available.