Sunday, 27 March 2016

Strung up on a cross - a similar story everywhere you look!

A few facts on why DEFRA and Eustice are currently targetting the U10M Fleet in England in their disgraceful "Latent Capacity" capping exercise. It is clear to see why DEFRA struggles to manage the limited quota in the U10M pool. When they first published the FQA register in 2013 ( figures will have changed slightly since then) I did some analysis of what lay beyond the figures, researching all the companies owning the FQA's and their directors. It makes very sad reading, particularly for the few remaining English vessels. 

There were around 8 Million UK FQA's administered as follows:-

Marine Scotland - 5,015,365 ( inc around 10% owned by foreign interests)

N. Ireland - 871,730

MMO ( England and Wales) - 2,576,833 ( of which 56.6% already in foreign ownership + a considerable amount owned by Scottish companies) 
Very noticable were the huge holdings of a few!

By comparison with most FQA's being held by the PO's the U10's

Marine Scotland - 15,734

MMO - 41,503

Out of interest, there were at that time the following O10M vessels in the PO's

Marine Scotland - 269 Active - 196 Dummy Licences

N.Ireland - 125 Active - 27 Dummy Licences

MMO ( Foreign PO) - 269 Active (67) - 113 Dummy Licences (39)

From this it is no suprise that the MMO struggles to manage the current 2625 U10M vessels in England, let alone the additional numbers in Wales on only 41,503 FQA's, particularly given the complications the landings obligation will bring! 

Clearly they needed to reduce the number of vessels. In the past, there were attempts by DEFRA to reduce the size of the UK Fleet by decommissioning schemes. Here again, there is evidence of inequity in the artificially divided ( their making) fleet. Over £100 Million in such schemes to reduce the O10's, only £5 Million to the U10's. 

These sums pale into insignificance when you consider the cost of just administering the farm subsidy payments alone is over £200 Million per annum! Let alone the huge sums, £ billions, involved in such subsidies. Fishermen get a poor deal in comparison!

Faced with the current tight fiscal measures in UK government the civil servants in DEFRA had no access to funds to properly reduce the numbers of U10's by way of compensation, so for some years have been toying with the alleged problem of "Latent Capacity" and seemingly without much opposition, introduced the first tranche of "capping" in 2009. Successfully reducing the English U10M fleet on the cheap. This time they have extended the scheme to another proposed 677 vessels of English U10M Fleet and are likely to meet firmer opposition. 

It should be noted that currently this is an unfair England only scheme! Their only support, claimed by them in personal conversations with DEFRA, apparently came from the NFFO, which unsuprisingly represents mainly O10's, including on the NFFO Services Board of Directors, many of the larger players in the industry. However even they recommended compensation should be paid!

DEFRA and the Minister are engaged in a battle to reduce the English Fleet on the cheap, by whatever immoral means possible. This post is not intended to divide the industry yet further, but merely to expose the current position in the hope, probably vain, that the industry will unite and fight this incessant attack, that will destroy many more before they reach whatever their desired position is!

Peter and Chantelle, a family struggling with the hardships of independent fishing, tell of their daily lives, as they both do their part to keep their business, and family, afloat. In true observational form, we view their contrasting lives through visual poetry.

Winner of the Craft: Camera Category - 2016 Royal Television Society Student Awards (London Region) 
Winner of the Documentary Category - Jan 2016 Los Angeles Cinefest Monthly Film Festival

Seems we are not alone: