The move was part of an effort to ensure strong representation from active fishermen at the event, which considered the future management of the UK’s inshore fisheries, and over 50 bursaries were awarded. Retailers Co-op and M&S; processors Macduff, Seachill and Youngs; and charities Trinity House and Seafarers UK all provided bursary funding. Seafish also provided funding through its advisory committees in Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and South West England.
Aoife Martin, Director of Operations at Seafish, said: “On behalf of the project steering group I would like to thank the donor organisations for their financial support. The success of the conference depended on active fishermen being in the room to contribute their vital expertise and experience as possible fisheries management solutions were discussed.
“By providing bursary funding to cover out-of-pocket expenses such as travel and accommodation, Seafarers UK, Trinity House, Co-op, M&S, Macduff, Seachill, Youngs and our regional advisory committees helped to ensure that fishermen were able to take time away from fishing to be part of ensuring a sustainable future for their industry.”
Deborah Layde, Grants Director at Seafarers UK, said: “Seafarers UK had no hesitation in funding the bursaries as our Fishing for the Future research was only possible thanks to the involvement of fishers UK wide. We absolutely believe it is vital to hear the authentic voice of fishers in deciding their own future and welcome this major inshore event.”
Aisla Jones, Fish Sustainability Manager for Co-op, said: “At Co-op we are committed to sourcing our seafood responsibly. We were pleased to be able to give bursaries to support fishermen catching inshore species – from langoustine in Scotland to mackerel on the south coast – to attend this conference and play their part in shaping a successful, sustainable approach to the management of these fisheries in the future.”
The conference is part of the wider Future of Our Inshore Fisheries project, which was established in January 2019. This ambitious and collaborative project is bringing together industry leaders, policy makers, regulators and researchers to focus on ensuring that both the marine environment and coastal communities are sustainable and thriving into the future.
The input of attendees at the conference will now be collated into a report capturing the views expressed and the common themes and the project’s steering group – which is industry led and facilitated by Seafish – will plan the next steps. Conference attendees and the wider industry will be kept closely informed of progress and the pathway forward with further updates before the end of the year.