Bid to give fishing stronger voice –

Bid to give fishing stronger voice Published:  08 January, 2010

A MAJOR new initiative is being launched to ensure that the fishing industry has a strong, clear and united voice.

Davy Hill, chairman of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations said the initiative comes in the wake of Government moves to introduce a network of marine protected waters around the UK.

In his New Year message to members, Mr Davy said the marine protected Areas coalition will quickly establish itself as the major body of influence, not least because it has the full backing of the NFFO and Scottish Fishermen’s Federation.

Shellfish would also figure large in the Federation’s work during the coming year as Defra moves to introduce a range of conservation measures, possibly including some form of effort restriction.

He said: “The cack-handed way that the Omega net gauge was introduced and the complete failure to communicate with the fishing industry on the issue have left both net makers and fishing vessels with large stocks of netting that overnight have been deemed (using the new gauge) to be illegal.

“The Commission’s attempt to wash its hands of this failure of governance will not be allowed to stand and the Federation will be working through the RACs, other fishermen’s organisations and gear suppliers to challenge the gauge on both technical and legal grounds.”

Mr Hill said the NFFO took a leading role in shaping the Common Fisheries Policy reform responses .. “We have argued consistently over many years that only through a radical decentralisation of CFP decision-making will we approach something like the responsive, flexible and adaptive system that is required. These ideas are close to becoming mainstream.”