Pressure mounts on Shaw for fuel aid –

Pressure mounts on Shaw for fuel aid Published:  23 May, 2008

Deas…urgent need for help

UK FISHERIES Minister, Jonathan Shaw, has been urged to put a support package in place for the fishing industry “as a matter of extreme urgency.”

The National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO) has underlined that the points made directly to the Minister last week about the impact of record high fuel prices have taken on an added intensity as fuel costs have continued to rise.

Barrie Deas, Chief Executive, of the NFFO, said:

“Every sector of the fishing fleet is now suffering badly. The NFFO has received calls from every part of the coast, graphically describing landings where the largest part of the vessel’s earnings is swallowed by fuel costs. Vessels are tying up as there is not a living to be made by crews.

“Fishing is unique in being unable to pass higher costs of production on to the consumer because of its reliance on the auction system. This places a strong obligation on to the Government to support the industry through this intensely difficult period.

“The Minister made a commitment to examine all the options that we suggested for short term industry support. We are now calling on him to deliver as a matter of urgency.

“We recognise and understand that the era of low fuel prices is over, but the fishing industry must be provided with a breathing space to make the adjustment to lower fuel usage and higher fuel costs. We agree with the Minister when he says that he wants short term support to be linked to a longer term strategy. But the priority at present has to be support to help vessels survive.

“The most straight-forward way of providing short term support is the de minimis. It is by no means a complete solution but it would help many vessels survive this desperately difficult period.”

Total fuel costs for UK fishing vessels have increased from £92 million in 2005 to (an estimated) £226 million in 2008, according to Seafish figures.

At their meeting with Mr Shaw, on May 14,the NFFO pressed for a relief package for the fishing industry which includes:

· De minimis payments of up to €30,000 that would allow some immediate relief to the fleet. EU state aid rules specifically allow for this type of emergency aid.

· Satellite monitoring costs.

· Electronic logbook costs.

· Light Dues.

· Duty free delivery.

The NFFO Executive Committee will meet next Thursday to discuss the fuel crisis and the industry campaign for Government support. is published by Special Publications. Special Publications also publish FISHupdate magazine, Fish Farmer, the Fish Industry Yearbook, the Scottish Seafood Processors Federation Diary, the Fish Farmer Handbook and a range of wallplanners.