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Fish Expo 2018




Saturday, 12 May 2018

Fishing for Justice: England’s Inshore Fisheries’ Social Movements and Fixed Quota Allocation

Typical Under 10m fishing boat in which 78% of the UK workforce is employed.

English inshore fishers have long campaigned through the New Under 10m Fishermen’s Association to have a fair share of the UK’s fishing opportunities and to be involved in inshore fisheries management. They argue that their allocation of ~2% of the UK Share of Total Allowable Catch species is unjust, with the inshore fleet contributing 78% of the workforce. Their concern, beyond quota shares, is that Local Ecological Knowledge / real time information from fishing grounds does not feature as information in the determination of the Marine Management Organisation’s Fixed Quota Allocation pool. This is thought to be top down, inflexible and having limited potential for adaptive co-management. 

At the same time, this entails increased distrust for the Common Fisheries Policy, often through conflated ideas about who is to blame for the allocation of national quota within the UK. Once the overall Total Allowable Catch levels have been agreed on, every December at an EU wide level, fishing opportunities are given out by the member state. Many fishers and the wider public are surprised it is the member state’s responsibility to assign access between fleets. Indeed, it is the Fixed Quota Allocation system which has left only 2% of the UK share of TAC species with inshore fishers, a decision which would benefit from a public enquiry. 

Leasing enough UK, Fixed Quota allocation Units is a barrier to entry for young fishers, as lease costs are high and inshore fisheries are mixed. An ageing knowledge base, with few new recruits to continue practising it, means the inter-generational transmission of fisher LEK is more at risk. Alongside this, the associated cultural value created by fisheries communities is under threat as a result of the inequality in terms of access to fishing opportunities. 

The newly recognised Coastal Producer Organisation could manage the 2% of the UK share of Total Allowable Catch, alongside promised ‘uplifts’ and any increases which may occur as a result of leaving the ‘relative stability’ system of EU Total Allowable Catch share. 

The Coastal Producer Organisation will listen to fishers and manage quota adaptively without permanently gifting fishing rights. Catchapp can be a way for members to integrate their fisher LEK to form the basis for real time updates to changes on fishing grounds. This can support determination in a scientifically robust manner improving on the previous monthly pool allocations for the seasonal mixed inshore fishery. This is an urgent requirement to improve buy in, compliance, confidence in science and foster adaptive co-management.

Full story courtesy of Jeremy W. Anbleyth-Evans and Chris Williams

Key words: Fisheries, Quota, Knowledge Management, Ecosystems