New fishermen’s survey launched by Seafish Published: 13 December, 2005
THE Sea Fish Industry Authority (Seafish) is calling upon fishermen to participate in a major new survey of the UK fishing fleet that will provide valuable up-to-date information on the economic pressures they currently face.
This new survey will update the 2001 economic survey of the fleet, which involved the collection of costs and earnings information on 450 vessels, covering 25 fleet segments. This time round the survey will spread its nets even wider to include the pelagic sector and under 10 metre vessels based in England and Wales for the first time.
Seafish Economist John Anderson said: “This survey is being conducted for the benefit of the UK industry and has the backing of the main UK fishing organisations.
“Rising fuel costs, quota and effort restrictions and stock recovery measures are continually influencing the structure and economic viability of the UK catching sector, so it is now more important than ever that industry representatives and fisheries administrations have up-to-date financial information to assess the economic pressures on the UK fishing fleet.”
The financial information collected by Seafish will also feed into other related projects, providing wider benefits for the UK fishing industry. For example, up-to-date cost and earnings data will allow Seafish to produce better financial forecasts showing how different vessel segments perform under the latest quota arrangements. Such information could prove vital in assisting with annual quota negotiations with the European Commission.
According to Mike Park, Vice-President of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, the information provided by the survey offers the industry a number of benefits.
“Politicians both at home and abroad have at times viewed the fishing industry’s claims of hardship with scepticism and disdain. Having the Seafish data at our disposal gives industry leaders and government officials the confidence to present a far more robust case to protect our interests.”
To ensure the results of the latest survey are reliable and comprehensive, Seafish are urging as many vessel owners as possible to participate.
John Anderson said “Participation is easy. We will be mailing all vessel owners in the run up to Christmas to ask them to complete a questionnaire. By permitting us to contact their accountants we can directly obtain vessels’ latest financial accounts with a minimum of inconvenience. Seafish has a proven track record in conducting these surveys. We treat all information collected anonymously and in the strictest confidence.”
The survey, which is funded by the fisheries administrations and FIFG, also has the backing of the Barrie Deas, the Chief Executive of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisation, who agrees the Seafish survey is extremely important: “Systematic and coherent information on the economic position and performance of fishing vessels is vital if we are to be influential in persuading policy makers in Brussels or London of the weight of the industry’s arguments on recovery plans or the fuel crisis. The only source for such data is the Seafish survey. Any survey is only as strong as the information it is based on and we would therefore strongly encourage vessel owners to contribute to the survey when approached by Seafish”
Members of the Seafish team will also be visiting all major ports from January 2006. If you would like a member of the team to meet with you to discuss the survey, assist in completing your questionnaire, or if you have not yet received a questionnaire and would like to take part, please contact either John Anderson or Kate Graham on 0131 558 3331, or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com