How we will support the fishing industry post-Brexit '“ Seafish

At Seafish, we put the spotlight on seafood, pushing it to the forefront of the consumer's mind '“ after all it is one of our high level objectives to encourage more people to eat more fish more often.

Tuesday, 13th December 2016, 7:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 14th December 2016, 12:33 pm
Whitby Fishing School Awards 2016. Jordon Harrison wins the George Traves Excellence award, presented by Marcus Coleman w1424a . Pic: Scott Wicking.

Seafood Week is our main campaign designed to help achieve this objective and this year it took place in October.

As hoped, the event was bigger and better than ever before. We will be reporting more fully on the results of the campaign once all sales information for that period is collated and analysed.

For now, I just wanted to thank all of our partners for their support and participation – I’m sure it made good business sense for you to be involved.

Looking at external factors, the UK electorate’s vote to leave the European Union, Brexit is undoubtedly going to have considerable impact on the seafood industry.

This will not be a quick process and even once Article 50 is invoked, it’s going to take some time before we can fully understand the what, when and how of the changes ahead.

We believe that there’s no organisation better placed than Seafish to help industry manage the impact of Brexit and that’s why, as part of our service to industry, we’re planning to use our independent, authority status to help inform the coming transition.

By sharing the valued expertise of our own staff and pooling the insight of a range of stakeholders from across the supply chain, we will endeavour to keep you informed. If you haven’t already seen our high level overview of the Brexit landscape and potential implications for the UK seafood industry, I’d encourage you to have a read.

Our future plans include creating a report highlighting the varying opportunities and challenges that you tell us about – but importantly, we’ll present feedback on the potential areas of commonality across the supply chain too. We then plan to collate and share the feedback we receive with industry, stakeholders and government alike, so that it can create a strong voice in seeking the best possible deal for the sector in a transitioning and post-Brexit landscape.

Just as important is much of the less-heralded work we do at Seafish Towers.

Here are just a few of the activities we are engaged with at the moment:

Fishermen’s Safety at Skipper Expo International: Our Marine Survey team were using their model fishing vessel to provide stability demonstrations at the recent Bournemouth Skipper Expo.

They were drawing attention to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency Marine Guidance Notes which provide differing methods of stability assessment for fishermen to carry out on their vessels.

The team were also raising awareness of how certain fishing vessel modifications can have a dramatic impact on stability and the overall safety of the vessel and crew.

Our Kingfisher team were also at the Expo, raising awareness of the many offshore structures, activities and zones that have the potential to impact upon fishing. In the past, fishing vessels snagging subsea cables has led to the loss of vessels and crew and with an increase in fishing accidents occurring in wind farm areas, these structures, more than ever, have the potential to impact fishing safety.

Supporting UK Aquaculture: In the last few weeks, two new, externally commissioned aquaculture-focused reports have been released and are available on the Seafish website; the first looks at Several and Regulating Orders in relation to UK shellfish production with the second detailing the contribution and value of aquaculture to England, Wales and NI.

The Annual Approved Training Provider (ATP) conference: Held in Edinburgh in early October, the ATP conference provided an opportunity for Seafish to engage with training providers involved in promoting and delivering fishermen’s training. Presentations were provided by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) on future proposals for training certification of fishermen, the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) on lessons learnt from accident investigations and David Gilchrist, South of Scotland Training Association on use of social media in promoting fishermen’s training and funding.

Events like these provide Seafish with an opportunity to discuss and exchange thoughts and ideas on how we can improve the safety record of fishermen, another vitally important objective of Seafish.

Rest assured, Seafish will be continuing with our consumer facing campaigns and supporting industry through Brexit, but behind the scenes we will be quietly beavering away on the other issues that we know so many of our stakeholders value greatly.