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Firing On All Cylinders: NFFO Fights For Industry


US - The National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations (NFFO) finds it hard to remember when it has had to fight on so many major fronts at once as it is at present

The fishing industry has become used to facing major challenges but never before have NFFO been confronted by so many life-or-death issues at the same time.

CFP reform, radical domestic fisheries management reform and the biggest change in shellfish management ever are approaching at the same time that a major review of the EU cod management plan has arrived; and just as the process of establishing a network of marine protected areas in UK waters is reaching a critical stage; add to this a celebrity chef who has ignited the discards issue with a vengeance. All this is taking place as IFCAS –the biggest change to inshore fisheries management since Queen Victoria – are bedding in, and the problems associated with establishing a fully functioning Marine Management Organisation have yet to be resolved. And all of this doesn’t take into account the task of dealing with the establishment of an immense expansion of offshore wind-farms, surviving the annual cuts in days at sea restrictions and addressing the endemic problem of weak stock assessments on which so many fisheries decisions including TACs are made.

This is a time for unity and cohesion, standing firm and sending clear, strong, messages to policy makers in Whitehall and Brussels. That is what you expect of your Federation and that is what the NFFO is doing.

Issue What the NFFO is doing about it
CFP reform Using its positions on the regional advisory councils to press for a radically decentralised CFP
Discards Directly, and through the RACs, making the case against a PR led ban and for continuing the progressive reduction in discards already under way (our fleet has already reduced its discards by 50% over the last 10 years)
EU Cod Plan Playing a key role in meetings in Copenhagen and Hamburg that will shape decisions on the future of the Cod Plan next spring. Pressing for tailored measures for the Irish Sea, Celtic Sea and North Sea/ Eastern Channel
Under-10m Quotas Working with other industry bodies and Defra to put the under-10m fleet on a viable footing
Shellfish Policy Shaping the future of shellfish policy through the work of the NFFO Shellfish Committee
Offshore Energy Working with the Crown Estate and Dept. for Energy and Climate Change to map fishing activity to better defend critical fishing grounds from poorly designed offshore developments
Days-at Sea Working in the English Days At Sea Group for the “least worst” outcomes whilst preparing for the review of the EU Cod Plan
Science Taking the lead in addressing the data deficiencies that undermine up to 60% of ICES stock assessments, thereby leading to lower TACs

These are the major issues confronting the industry at present. At the same time, it is important that the Federation maintains its day-to-day activities in for example, the development of long term management within the RACs and preparation for the negotiation of next year’s TACs. It is important too that the NFFO engages with the media to at least try to redress the onslaught of sensationalist doom stories about fishing that seems to be the average lazy journalist’s recourse on a slow news day.