LOW IMPACT FISHERS ENTER NEW PHASE
The Low Impact Fishers of Europe’s (LIFE) Board of Directors recently approved a plan for LIFE’s further development and growth.
This aims to further consolidate LIFE’s role as the dedicated voice for small-scale, low impact fishers across Europe and at a European level. The process will pave the way for increased effort on behalf of this vital yet neglected sector that LIFE says needs and deserves to be at the heart of Europe’s fisheries policy development.
LIFE was launched in 2012 on the eve of a newly reformed CFP to provide a voice for Europe’s previously overlooked but significant [80% of EU vessels by number] fleet of small-scale vessels and those whose livelihoods depend on low impact fishing activities. Over the last 3 years, since opening an office in Brussels in 2015, and under the direction of its board of small-scale fishers, LIFE has more than fulfilled that role by successfully establishing itself as the recognized body exclusively representing the interests of small-scale low impact fishers. This European level representation has been complemented by LIFE’s extensive engagement in the Advisory Councils at regional level across many of Europe’s sea basins from the Baltic to the Mediterranean, supported by its regional coordinators managing specific projects in partnership with our member organisations.
LIFE is now entering a new phase, building on what they have learnt and achieved during our start up period and guiding us to focus on the provision of greater support to our members. This will enable LIFE to engage at local and regional levels through specific projects on the water face as well as by increased lobbying efforts both nationally and in Brussels.
As part of this restructuring process, LIFE’s Executive Director Jerry Percy will step down and take up the part-time role of Senior Adviser. The role of Deputy Director will be subsumed into the newly created post of Executive Secretary, to be taken up by Brian O’Riordan, LIFE’s current Deputy, to steer LIFE through the next phase of its evolution.
LIFE says it can be proud of the fact that the group now has its own identity and momentum. Thanks to this, there is no longer the need for the role that Jerry Percy has provided since the creation of LIFE.
In a statement on their website, LIFE says: “His retention is both welcome and valuable to ensure that LIFE does not lose his long and varied experience across all areas of small-scale low impact fisheries, from the water-face to the negotiating table, and the fact that he was one of the original co-creators of LIFE.
“The most recent changes involved moving LIFE’s registration from the UK to Belgium. Not only is such a move essential due to the implications of Brexit for UK registered organizations, but it also makes sense for LIFE to become more centrally established at the heart of Europe. However, LIFE will remain committed to the concerns of the UK small vessel fleet, and according to the outcome of Brexit, LIFE’s UK members will continue to receive our support under an associate membership arrangement.
“What has become abundantly clear to LIFE during its initial development phase is the absolutely vital need for a specific and dedicated voice for the small scale fleet across Europe. This need has been acknowledged and supported by both past and current DG MARE Commissioners and their staff.
“We are confident that LIFE’s further development and growth will provide an even firmer foundation for its future work and securing the rightful place for small-scale, low impact fisheries at the centre of fisheries policy making.”