NFFO and SFF Agree Joint Approach on Effort Regime and CFP Reform

1st April 2009 in Europe / Common Fisheries Policy

The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation and the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations have agreed to work together to secure immediate and long term changes to the effort management regime.

It has also been agreed to work together on CFP reform in light of the publication of the Commission’s Green Paper.

At a recent meeting in Edinburgh, attended by senior officers of the two federations, a series of points of agreement were reached on how to extend and deepen collaboration and cooperation by the two federations.

SFF Chief Executive, Bertie Armstrong said after the meeting, “The federations are responding to growing disquiet in the ports over the viability of vessels under the severe constraints imposed by the days at sea regime. For almost two years we have worked strenuously to implement cod avoidance measures and we remain fully committed to the goal of building the cod biomass. But it now has to be faced that the level of reductions imposed by the cod recovery plan is actually counterproductive. It is alienating the very men whose support is necessary if we are to achieve our objective.”

NFFO Chairman Davy Hill said, “The immediate priority for the two federations is to ensure that the fleets survive this year, against the background of a punitive reduction in days and very difficult quayside prices. But we also have to work towards the circumstances in which we can remove effort control completely. It is an economically perverse instrument. The NFFO and SFF have achieved much when they have worked together in the past and we agreed to build the political, conservation and economic case for change.”

The two Federations:

  • Agreed that the level of effort reductions under the new cod recovery plan are unmanageable and were introduced with no adequate assessment of their economic or regulatory impact
  • Agreed that the kilowatt days regime that was supposed to be more flexible than the flat rate days at sea that it replaced, is intolerable with this level of reduction
  • Agreed that UK fisheries ministers’ commitment to return to Brussels to renegotiate the effort package will have to be honoured, not least because the cod recovery plan dictates further reductions in subsequent years dependent on the conservation status of the cod stocks
  • Agreed to work together on a robust case for ministers to renegotiate the effort regime.
  • Agreed that effort control is wholly incompatible with a TAC and quota system and to work for the removal of the effort regime at the earliest opportunity. In the meantime, the two federations will resist any deepening, extension or institutionalisation of the effort regime.

CFP Reform

In light of the publication of the Commission’s Green Paper on the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy, the two federations agreed to work together on a joint approach.

“We recognise that CFP reform offers a mixture of threats and opportunities”, said Bertie Armstrong. “It is therefore essential that we maximize our influence. Working together, the two federations, by virtue of our membership and our international links can shape the forthcoming debate if we prepare strong, well argued, evidence-based positions.”

Davy Hill said, “If we are to move the CFP from the remote, top-down, command and control system that we currently labour under, towards one in which the industry has a central management role we have to make the case in the next few months. Clearly our case will be stronger at UK and EU level if the two federations collaborate.”