Fishermen from across the UK are set to come together with policy makers, regulators and researchers to discuss issues around the management of inshore fisheries and to establish a blueprint for their future management.
The Future of Our Inshore Fisheries Conference – which is to take place in London on 8-9 October – was announced at a specially convened workshop today at which members of the Future of Our Inshore Fisheries steering group met with representatives from the inshore industry, government and science community.
Attendees at the workshop - supported by Seafish, the public body that supports the £10bn UK seafood industry - heard steering group chair Professor Michel Kaiser, of Heriot-Watt University, announce the conference and call for industry to engage on this important initiative.
Fisheries Minister Robert Goodwill said:
“Collaboration between industry, scientists, regulators, UK government and devolved administrations is key to ensuring the future management of our domestic fisheries is sustainable and profitable for all parts of the nation.
“I’d like to thank Seafish for their efforts in bringing everyone together and urge fishermen to support this work and play their part in shaping a successful seafood sector for decades to come.”
The project steering group was established in January 2019, with representatives from across the UK industry, government and science communities.
Steering group chair Professor Michel Kaiser of Heriot-Watt University said:
“The Future of Our Inshore Fisheries is an ambitious project that looks to transform how we manage these important resources over the medium to long-term, so that we can ensure that our fisheries, our marine environment and our coastal communities are sustainable and thriving.
“There are no quick wins here so it is vital that we take the time to understand the issues and challenges that currently exist so that we can build awareness, understanding and consensus amongst all the parties involved in the management of this important marine resource.
"A key focus of the October conference will be to bring all interested parties together, whether that’s small scale fishermen, regulators, the environmental community and researchers, to help shape the blueprint for future management. By working together from the outset we hope to lay the foundations for future collaborative working.”
Jim Pettipher, Chief Executive of the Coastal Producer Organisation, which represents small scale fishermen, said:
“It’s vital for the inshore sector to be managed in a way which allows us all to realise the benefits that these fisheries offer.
“From the formation of the steering group to today’s workshop, industry has been involved in every step of this process to establish a way forward.”
Barrie Deas, Chief Executive of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisation said:
“This conference provides a unique opportunity to establish a bespoke fisheries management regime for the UK that recognises and explicitly responds to the potential value that the inshore fisheries sector can contribute.”
“I would encourage inshore fishermen to take this opportunity to be part of creating this blueprint for the future management of our fisheries by engaging through the steering group and by attending the Future of Our Inshore Fisheries conference in October.”
Aoife Martin, Director of Operations at Seafish said:
“Seafish is pleased to be part of this important initiative. Our unique role across the UK seafood sector means we are perfectly placed to facilitate and support people to come together to work on solutions to improve the management of our local fisheries.”
“The October conference will provide an opportunity for participants to look at examples of best practice, from the UK and beyond, and to consider how we wish to responsibly manage our fisheries so that we can continue to support a truly thriving seafood sector.”
Inshore fisheries have historically been an important component of the UK seafood sector. In 2018, there were 3,327 active vessels in the 10m and under sector, with a total fishing income of £110 million, an 18% increase since 2009. Lobsters, crabs and nephrops were the top species landed, when measured by value.