Future of Our Inshore Fisheries | Seafish

Future of Our Inshore Fisheries

Future of Our Inshore Fisheries (FOIF) is an industry-led project with the long-term aim of transforming how inshore fisheries are managed.
FOIF logo with fishing gear in the background

About FOIF

FOIF brings together active fishermen, industry leaders, policy makers and researchers to share knowledge and lay the foundations for an effective fisheries management system in the UK.

It aims to ensure that our inshore fisheries are managed to deliver a viable and profitable fishing industry that supports flourishing coastal communities. Watch the film below to learn more:

A short film about the Future of Our Inshore Fisheries project.

We have been involved with FOIF since the outset and our Fisheries Management team works closely with partners, including Defra and the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) to facilitate the project.

FOIF conference and first-phase action plan

FOIF was set up in 2019 following the landmark Future of Our Inshore Fisheries conference. It was dedicated to:

  • sharing knowledge on UK inshore fisheries
  • discussing challenges faced by fishermen
  • determining recommendations for practical actions to reform their management

Attendees heard examples of fisheries management solutions and best practice from around the world and considered their relevance to the UK’s inshore fleet. The conference was the first milestone in the delivery of the project. It set out to ensure that the vital expertise and experience of inshore fishers set the priorities for future work.

Five core work topics were identified as part of the project’s first-phase action plan:

  • Co-management
  • Collaborative science
  • Credible fisheries management
  • Rights and access
  • Effective compliance

The action plan sets out clear, deliverable actions across these five themes – from policy provisions to pilot studies. You can get a copy of the first-phase action plan from the link below:

The conference report captures the key themes and priority areas identified by the participants in more detail. It concludes by recognising that the scale of change needed is significant, and that developing and implementing solutions will take time. You can get a copy of the conference report from the link below:

FOIF Groups

Project partners have met regularly since the kick-off conference to lay the foundations for the future of FOIF.

A system of groups has been set up to distribute the work across shellfish and finfish fisheries. Jointly, these groups aim to shape an improved fisheries management regime. The following diagram shows the links between the groups that sit under FOIF (more information on each group is included below).

Diagram showing links between FOIF, the Finfish Advisory Group, Shellfish Advisory Group, priority issue groups and Regional Fisheries Groups

The Finfish Industry Advisory Group (FIAG) was formed to bring together fishermen, regulators and scientists to discuss priority issues for UK finfish species. This includes spurdog, bass and flatfish. You can find out more about the FIAG from the link below:

The Shellfish Industry Advisory Group (SIAG) provides a forum to discuss sustainable management of UK shellfish fisheries. You can find out more about the SIAG from the link below:

The SIAG supports three species-specific priority issue groups focusing on whelks, crab and lobster, and scallops. You can find out more about sub groups from the links below:

The Regional Fisheries Groups (RFGs) network runs in parallel to FOIF. RFGs are a formal method of engagement for the inshore fishing fleet. They allow for an active role in regional and local decision-making. Where relevant, RFGs support the work of FOIF and vice-versa. You can find out more about the RFGs from the link to the UK Government website below.

While each of the above groups has its own specialist focus, they all provide individual forums to bring together policy makers, scientists, active fishermen and regulators. They help foster collaboration and play a key role in driving a stakeholder-led approach to fisheries management.

Fisheries Management Plans (FMPs)

FOIF is developing some of the UK’s first Fisheries Management Plans (FMPs). These plans are a key, practical part of the post-Brexit framework for sustainable management of our stocks.

FMPs are set up under the UK Fisheries Act 2020. They draw on scientific evidence, fisher experience and policy objectives to set out management measures that will help to build and maintain sustainable fisheries. FMPs also contribute to achieving other environmental, social and economic fisheries objectives, detailing the practical, fishery-scale delivery of the overarching Act.

FOIF groups and delivery partners will play a vital role in driving some of the first pilot or ‘frontrunner’ FMPs forward. This will include:

  • Crab and Lobster FMP
  • Whelk FMP
  • King Scallop FMP
  • Bass FMP
  • Channel non-quota demersal species FMP
  • Southern North Sea and Eastern Channel mixed flatfish FMP

FMPs are being developed in collaboration with fishermen and stakeholders, recognising them as experts. Their knowledge feeds into the management process alongside industry leaders, regulators and researchers. This will lay the foundations for co-management of fisheries, ensuring the experience of active inshore fishermen informs the project every step of the way.

Get updates or get in touch

You can find the latest updates shared on Twitter using the FOIF hashtag from the link below:

If you have any queries about FOIF please contact:

Rebecca Treacy
Shellfish Fisheries Analyst
07971 310 316