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Thursday, 12 December 2019

Can a Conservative Government deliver what the NFFO wants?




The NNFO have posted their manifesto for the fishing industry in the final stages of the election. In it they address the major concerns of access, quotas, quota distribution and the possible impact of Brexit negotiations.




On Sunday's Andrew Marr show the Foreign Secretary did little to inspire complete confidence in the governments ability or intention to divorce fishing from any kind of trade agreement - for those old enough, that might bring back memories of a previous Conservative government under Ted Heath infamously remembered for having sold the UK fishing industry down the river for French sheep.

ACCESS QUESTIONS DODGED – MINISTER WON’T SAY YES OR NO ON BREXIT ACCESS QUESTION

Linkage of access and trade issue spelled out on Marr show A senior cabinet minister refused to confirm that there will be fewer foreign vessels in UK waters after Brexit. He also failed to answer an allegation that the current Brexit deal negotiated by Boris Johnson is no different from Theresa May’s deal, and inevitably links fisheries negotiations to the overall trade deal.

The BBC’s Andrew Marr said that EU negotiator Phil Hogan had said that a free trade agreement could be reached by the end of 2020, but that the UK would have to agree to ‘a level playing field’ on regulations.

He asked foreign secretary Dominic Raab on his Sunday morning TV programme whether he would commit to a level playing field.

When he dodged the question, Andrew Marr said he suspected the free trade deal would be ‘a lengthier and more difficult process than the government is saying’. He continued: “Let’s take fishing. After you’ve done a deal on fishing, which you want to finish by July next year, are foreign trawlers going to get good access to British waters or not?”

The foreign secretary refused to commit to saying there would be fewer foreign boats despite being asked three times, saying only that it would be subject to negotiation, with the UK in control as an independent coastal state.

Andrew Marr pointed out that the political declaration with the EU says: “Within the context of the overall economic partnership, the parties should establish a new fisheries agreement on access to waters and quota shares.” “That’s a very specific linking of the two things,” he told the foreign secretary.

He said that when Boris Johnson first saw those words in the political declaration negotiated by Theresa May – the same as in the deal he had negotiated – ‘he flipped his lid and resigned’.

Boris Johnson’s comment, shown on screen, was: “Theresa May’s deal hands the EU infinite power to bully and blackmail this country to get whatever it wants in the future negotiations. And if history teaches us anything, it is that our European friends will not desist until they have worked out a way to plunder the waters of Scotland for their fish.”

“He was furious about it,” said Andrew Marr. “Can you explain to viewers how the thing he was furious about is different in any way to the deal you have negotiated under Boris Johnson in the free trade agreement?”

Dominic Raab again said only that the UK would be in control during bilateral negotiations as an independent coastal state. Andrew Marr said that the two political declarations were ‘word for word the same’.

Asked if we would leave without a deal at the end of the year if the government could not get the deal it wants on fishing, Dominic Raab said only that ‘as with any negotiation, of course there’s going to be compromise on both sides’. He said he believed there was an opportunity for ‘a win-win here, a deal which is great for the UK which is also good for our European friends. That’s what we’re aiming for’.

Andrew Marr told the foreign secretary: “We’re sitting here in the middle of the election campaign, and in lots of marginal constituencies and coastal seats up and down the country, fishermen and their families are looking very, very carefully, and they are hearing you saying there is going to be compromise.”

He asked again if we would leave without a deal if there was no deal on fishing, but Dominic Raab said that he could not break down in advance ‘the hypothetical negotiation stance’.

“The guarantee I can give is that we’re going to be an independent coastal state with full control, and we’ll do what is in the best interests of fishermen and women up and down the country.”

He did not think it ‘remotely likely’ we would leave without a deal.

The UK industry and government position is that access to fisheries for European vessels to British waters, and vice versa, must be treated separately from the overall trading relationship. This is spelled out in the UK white paper of 2018.

EUFA: Access/trade link ‘really important to us’

EU fishermen say that they wanted the link between trade and fisheries from the start.

“That was really important to us,” Gerard van Balsfoort, chairman of the European Fisheries Alliance (EUFA), told the Irish national broadcaster RTE.

“This is the starting position. There will be a direct link to the wider economic and trade partnership. We wanted this from the start in the mandate, and also in the text of the political declaration. The whole linkage of the wider partnership and fisheries is still there.”

A linkage between trade and fisheries access puts the UK in a difficult position because of the risk to all food and drink exports to the EU, and particularly shellfish, if there is no deal and there are therefore restrictions on exports, and delays at the border.

RTE quoted an EU official saying: “The rhetoric on fisheries has been toned down. There’s a realisation it’s a hell of a lot more complicated. The shellfish sector has raised their voice in the past six months, saying that with no deal, they would be wiped out overnight. Especially in the west of Scotland, the small island communities – all the exports go to France. It’s time-contingent, it has to get there in 24 hours.”

Gerard van Balsfoort said: “The UK intention will be to use the access to waters to get a higher share of the quota. What quota exactly, we don’t know.”

Sean O’Donoghue, chief executive of the Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation, told RTE that every EU head of government was ‘fully aware’ of the importance of the linkage between access and trade. Ireland is particularly exposed to any restrictions on access to UK waters. Of the 50 species that Irish vessels target, 47 are shared with British fleets.

“Overall, we need 30% access for all the different species,” said Sean O’Donoghue. “But that belies the fact that two of our main economic drivers are mackerel and prawn. We need 60-70% access for mackerel and 40% for prawns.”

He said: “If the foundation stone isn’t laid at the beginning in the trade talks, and the access and percentage sharing arrangements aren’t agreed and written into the deal, then we’re on a hiding to nothing. If the arrangement has to be rolled over annually, the UK could say at the outset, that’s fine, but they’d wait two or three years and say, we’re not agreeing with that any more.”

An Irish official said: “The UK think they’re going to be sold down the river. Our guys think the same. One of them is going to be right.”  - a report by Tim Oliver from Fishing News.





Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Need to know more about the Under10m reporting app?

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For all those Under 10m skippers and owners - head down to Newlyn on Friday to the MMO porta-cabin for the lowdown on the new Under 10m reporting app!


Monday, 9 December 2019

Monday morning in Newlyn


Thanks to the storm force winds over the weekend these netter and the rest of the fleet are tucked up in port this morning...


after the Stelissa and her partner ship Silver Dawn put ashore two big trips of mainly hake...


while the St Georges put ashore a huge 300+ box trip of mainly megrim and monk from the deeper waters south west of Newlyn along with the Sapphire II...


big turbot...


big monk heads for crab bait...


and plenty of haddock...


while a few handliners managed to brave the strong winds on the shore grounds to land a few boxes of squid...


the netters also landed the odd red bream...


and all but used up their months quota of spurdogs...


to go with their MSC Certified Cornish hake...


well spotted!..


Newlyn boats are constantly bringing debris they have trawled up form the depths, this time the rail of a small boat wrapped in French trawl net...


the crabber Nimrod is ready to land...


to the waiting lorry from Grimsby...


as skipper Ben checks over the details with the driver - then has to decide whether to head back out to sea again - or not...


seasonal gift-wrapped hake from the Govenek of Ladram......


fancy a scallop or two?..


stars on the market this morning...


with both auctioneers in full swing...



it's not called a shout auction for nothing!

Saturday, 7 December 2019

Fathom podcast number 2 - we're talking safety at sea!

The second Fathom podcast on safety at sea in the local fishing industry threw up some challenges for inshore fishermen who now have a legal requirement (ILO 88) under expected to wear pfds while they are at sea.

Crewman Luke Selvey talks about an incident from earlier this year when a fellow crewman aboard the Brixham beam trawler Emilia Jayne was plucked from the water wearing a pfd in weather conditions that, should he not have been wearing one, would certainly have cost him his life. 

Working space on the cramped deck of the Nazarene - where pfds proved uncomfortable and restrictive.

However, Porthlevener Jeremy Hosking, skipper of the inshore crabber Nazarene would happily have his crew and himself wear a pfd but in his words, "We can't physically do our job with it (pfd) on"! Not for the first time has legislation been brought in without sufficient research having been done as to the suitability of the equipment. Given that the new legislation concerning the wearing of such safety gear now affects thousands of fishermen in the UK and potentially millions worldwide you would like to think that a manufacturer will finally get to grips with this challenge and come up with a practicable pfd for seafarers working in confined spaces. It will make them loads of money and save hundreds of lives!

The new ILO 188 encompasses a new set of rules and regulations fishermen have to follow, but what does it mean when it has to be put in to practice on the water? Fathom is here to help fishermen find out.

Stelissa crew all wear pfds when landing on the quayside.
Also in this episode, the team speak to NFFO's Safety Adviser and Safety Folder Founder, Robert Greenwood and Clive Palfrey Cornwall's Fishing Safety Adviser about where ILO 188 came from, what the safety folder is how it can help make fishermen safer and what drills and risk assessments fishermen need to be doing by law. They also speak to the Skipper and the Owner of the Cornish fishing vessel Stelissa about their innovative approaches to safety on board.



Helpful links:
Risk assessments
Safety Folder
ILO 188
Fishing Safety Adviser (Cornwall)
Seafish Training Providers

Social Media
Fathom
Ryan Davey (Skipper of Stelissa)
Luke Selvey
SCT Training

Funders
Seafarers UK
MMO 


Friday, 6 December 2019

Chefs galore at Padstow's 12th Christmas Festival - not to be missed!



It's that time of year when Cornwall's most popular chefs wend their way to the fishing port of Padstow for the annual Christmas Festival - music a-plenty, Christmas markets and a dazzling array of cheffery drawn from what looks like a Who's Who of the UK's finest fish chefs - all under one roof! 

You can bet your bottom dollar that most of the fish being baked, fried, poached and grilled has been landed within the last few hours from boats fishing from all the Cornish ports!


Turn up and choose your chef from the list which also includes award winning chefs like Jude Kereama from Porthleven and Bruce Rennie whose restaurant The Shore has just been voted best restaurant in the South West by this year's Trenchermen's Guide!

#FishyFriday in Newlyn.



Thursday morning saw the Cornishman head to the fish market to land... 


then in the afternoon the hake netter Ajax was in with her first trip following her re-engine and refit...




handliners arrive at all times of the day...



and so on to another very dark #FishyFriday morning...



with the inshore boats still catching plenty of rays...


while the Ajax...


landed a good sized run of hake...



and a handful of dogfish...



some take dogs for a walk while others prefer less demanding boxes...



good to see the boats donating boxes of fish towards the cost of the Christmas lights...



a late season Mediterranean octopus...



along with some St Ives herring...



and handline mackerel...



meanwhile the Stelissa took advantage of a high water landing direct to the fish market...



just ahead of the Joy of Ladram...



skipper Ryan setting the example...



as he and his crew all wear pfds these days...



seems that Brixham's black gold not so abundant these days...



scarping those rocky outcrops always produces a few of these slippery characters...



good to see young George has a market for these spiny creatures...



it is still surprising that many of the boats do not cut out monk cheeks given how many monk are landed in Newlyn...



bass back on the menu again, no doubt at a certain Mr Outlaw's restaurant at Port Isaac...



buyers busy buying...



not so many discards today...



but oodles of hake for tomorrow!