NFFO LAUNCHES FISHING MANIFESTO
The National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO) has launched its fishing manifesto for the forthcoming UK General Election which consists of the three key themes; independence, fairness, and sustainability and collaboration.
Here is their manifesto, covering these themes:
When the UK leaves the EU it will automatically become an independent coastal state. There are important rights as well as responsibilities associated with this new legal status. A coastal state, under the UN Law of the Sea, has the right to sustainably harvest fisheries resources within its exclusive economic zone, for the benefit of its fishing industries. Post-Brexit (and after any transition period) the UK will be able to control access over who fishes in UK waters, and negotiate bilateral fisheries agreements. However, there remains a very real threat that a future Government may sacrifice UK fishing opportunities in favour of securing a trade deal with the EU. The EU has explicitly indicated that it will make a future EU/UK trade deal contingent on the status quo for access to its fleets to UK waters and current quota shares. Should a future UK government surrender to this pressure, it would repeat the historic betrayal of the 1970s. The NFFO is calling on all political parties to reject EU pressure for a trade deal to maintain its current exploitative access to UK fisheries resources.
As an independent coastal state, the UK will be in a strong negotiating position to allow access to EU fleets, only in return for fairer quota shares. The UK fleet is highly diverse and it is important that the benefits of additional fishing opportunities are fairly spread across the UK. The NFFO is calling for a policy framework that:
- Maintains the present approach to quota shares between devolved administrations and freedom of access for UK vessels to fish anywhere in UK waters
- Preserves existing quota distributions (fixed quota allocations) as they currently provide custodianship and stability
- Provides flexible arrangements that use additional quota to bring maximum benefit to fishing communities The NFFO is calling for a fair approach to future quota distribution that leaves nobody worse off. This will ensure that additional fishing opportunities are allocated in ways which address the most acute problems faced by the industry, sustainable fishing and rejuvenating coastal communities.
Sustainability and collaboration
Leaving the Common Fisheries Policy provides an opportunity to break free from a cumbersome, top-down system of fisheries management. Consequently, a new system can be created that is agile and responsive. All management decisions should be based on sound science and carefully collated evidence. The objective of fisheries management should be high sustainable yields that support vibrant fishing communities and provide consumers with world class fisheries products. The best way to ensure fishing is sustainable is through science-based co-management. The NFFO calls on all parties to support a regulatory framework that encourages and supports fishermen’s involvement in both science and management partnerships.
The NFFO is also calling on politicians from across the country to sign their Fair Fishing pledge. By signing the pledge, politicians will be committing to support policy that will:
- Enable the UK to secure maximum benefit from its new status as an independent coastal state
- Deliver new arrangements that ensure additional fishing opportunities are allocated fairly and in recognition of the UK’s highly diverse fleets
- Encourage a collaborative and science-based approach that uses fishing industry expertise and skills to make the UK a world leader in sustainable fisheries management.