South East Regional Committee

22nd December 2011 in South East

Chairman Tony Delahunty, Selsey

Email No_thumbs_tone@hotmail.com

The NFFO’s South East Committee has recently been reinvigorated through the election of a new Chairman who is determined to ensure that the South East regains a voice in national and European platforms. After an initial meeting in Shoreham it is intended to hold meetings in Leigh-on Sea and in Rye early in 2012. The South East has largely been sidelined in recent years and the NFFO is working to rebuild its previously very strong and active Committee.

The foreseeable challenges facing the South East in the coming year are:

  • Under-10 metre Quota Management: The predominantly under-10 metre fleet in the South East faces a range of particular challenges, notably an imbalance between the capacity of the fleet and available quota. The South East Committee will be feeding in its views through the NFFO as the Government comes to final conclusions about how to address the under-10m issue. The inshore fleet’s decisive rejection of the Government’s proposals for a radical change to a fully fledged system of rights based management have left it with little option to test the water through pilots on under-10 self- management that, if successful, would provide the flexibility in quota management that the producer organisations already hold. The NFFO is keen to encourage and strengthen cooperation between the POs and the pilots as a way forward that avoids damaging splits and divisions in the industry.
  • TACs and Quotas: The exclusive focus on the issue of distribution of quota by single issue groups has distracted from the bigger picture of the TACs and the under pinning science that can have at least as significant effect on vessel earnings. Through the direct involvement in the process leading to decisions at the December Council the new Chairman of the SE Committee has already made his mark.
  • Marine Conservation Zones: The establishment of a network of marine conservation zones, and European Special Areas of Conservation represents a huge potential threat of displacement from customary fishing grounds in the South East. As the focus moves from site designation to management measures it is vital for the South East Committee to coordinate a dialogue at local level between the management authorities and those potentially affected. This work has already begun.
  • Shellfish: Fishing for crab and lobster is vitally important to a large number of vessels in the South East For this reason the views of our South East members have been fully taken into account in the development of the Federation’s Shellfish Policy document
  • Fisheries Science Partnerships: When the next round of Defra Fisheries Science Partnership projects is invited the South East Committee will be submitting a proposal.
  • Offshore Wind-farms: Members from the South East have been cooperating with the NFFO / Crown Estate mapping project to ensure that as far as possible, future offshore wind-farm developments and the cables bringing the electricity ashore avoid the most sensitive fishing grounds
  • Aggregate dredging has been a sensitive issue on the South Coast and Thames Estuary for many years. The Committee will be involved in vetting all licence applications