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Sunday 4 February 2024

Inshore fishermen - doing what you do best - the Canadian way


Small-scale fisheries, including fishers and fishworkers as well as their communities and organizations, are effective contributors to safeguarding aquatic resources and environments. The key role played by small-scale fisheries is well recognized in the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and in the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SSF Guidelines). Such stewardship contributes importantly to the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and to implementing the Global Biodiversity Framework.

This publication highlights stewardship by small-scale fisheries, with a focus on real-world examples, thanks to the active participation of many small-scale fishing communities and organizations in sharing their experiences (see also https://ssfstewardship.net). Four main themes are explored:

(i) Key motivations and influences on stewardship practices. For small-scale fishers, stewardship is expressed as both a perspective and a practice, a way of engaging with the natural world and the local environment, with values, relationships, culture and spiritual aspects motivating stewardship action, along with securing sustainable livelihoods and community well-being.

(ii) Six types of stewardship in small-scale fisheries: maintaining, restoring and improving local habitat and ecosystems; improving fishing practices and post-harvest practices; engaging in fishery management for sustainable use; stewardship of specific aquatic areas; stewardship of particular aquatic species (such as endangered species); and stewardship through outreach and advocacy.

(iii) Supporting and/or enabling activities underlying stewardship. These build capacity for or motivate direct stewardship, creating an enabling environment based on recognising and reinforcing secure tenure, rights and access; knowledge development; building community and organisational capacity; and education and communications.

(iv) Lessons learned, good practices and ingredients for success in stewardship, which include attention to values and ethics; local leadership and responsibility; diverse knowledge and perspectives; cohesion and trust in the community and organisation; empowerment and capacity to participate in decision-making and management; appropriate partnerships and external support; and supportive government policy and legislation.

Overall, it is clear that support for fishing communities and organizations in their environmental stewardship is a valuable contributor to a sustainable future, as they lead the way in restoring local environments and stewarding resources.

Saturday 3 February 2024

Potentially good news! Medical Exemption – Existing Fishers on Vessels of 10 Metres and Under

Here is a summary of the MCA's review of the ML5 medical requirement published last week.

Review of ML5 for Under10m vessels

The consultation seeks your views on the Secretary of State potentially exercising the exemption power within Regulation 14 of The Merchant Shipping (Work in Fishing Convention) (Medical Certification) Regulations 2018 with respect to existing fishers working on vessels of 10 metres and under.

Your views are sought in respect of the proposed exemption. An explanation of the areas for consideration can be found in Section 2 of this document.

Deadline for responses 1.4. Responses are welcomed from 16 January to 27 February 2024.

Following the conclusion of this consultation and consideration of the feedback, a final decision with regard to publishing the exemption will be made.

Areas for consideration

The ILO 188 Work in Fishing Convention sets the basic standards of decent work in the fishing industry, the objective of this Convention is to ensure that all fishers, regardless of employment status, have decent conditions of work on board fishing vessels.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency has conducted stakeholder engagement as part of a post implementation review of the 2018 Regulations. However there has been recognition of the particular impacts that the Medical Certification requirements are having on fishers working on the smallest vessels.

Regulation 14 allows for the Secretary of State to grant exemptions to the requirement to hold Medical Certification. Before granting such exemptions the Secretary of State must consult such persons as representing persons engaged in the fishing industry as appear appropriate and take into account the safety and health of fishers, the size of the vessel, the availability of medical assistance and evacuation, the duration of the voyage, the area of operation and type of fishing operation.

A “Grandfather rights” provision exists whereby, for fishers who were working as fishers prior to the Regulations coming into force (i.e. prior to 30 November 2018) and who do not meet the requisite medial standards, Approved Doctors can consider whether they are safely able to continue working despite not meeting the medical standards. This provision did still require the fishers to go through the medical assessment.

Even with this “Grandfather rights” provision stakeholder feedback has raised the proportionality of the medical requirements for existing fishers. This is particularly relevant to the fleet of fishing vessels of 10 metres and under in length as the majority of these vessels predominantly work close to shore for less than 72 hours and are therefore closer to medical assistance and evacuation – meaning that any medical issues arising can be more easily addressed. In addition, the types of fishing operation undertaken from small vessels can be less physically demanding.

Notwithstanding the medical standards, the skipper has a responsibility for the safety of crew on board the Vessel and the safe operation of the Vessel, and is therefore expected to “manage crew in a manner which respects safety and health” (section of The Code of Practice for the Safety of Small Fishing Vessels) which could include making appropriate arrangements for those with significant known medical conditions.

Therefore the application of the medical standards to those that have already been working on these vessels is being reviewed, and the Secretary of State is considering providing an exemption.

For the purpose of this exemption, existing fishers will be those that were working on fishing vessels of 10 metres and under in length for 4 weeks or more during the period 30 November 2022 and 29 November 2023. This criteria means that fishers that are not currently working due to the entry into force of the Medical Certification requirements are able to access the exemption.

Fishers should be able to demonstrate they were working on a relevant fishing vessel via one of the following means; appropriately dated evidence of completion of SEAFISH Basic Health and Safety assessment, or Sea Service Testimonials e.g. from skippers/the fishing vessel owners/managers, or if you are the owner of the vessel, the registration document for the vessel including fishing vessel number, and your name on the document as the owner, or other relevant evidence.

Existing Fishers meeting the above criteria that do not engage in fishing on fishing vessels of 10 metres and under in length for a period of 5 years will no longer be eligible for this exemption.

Regulation 14 requires that the exemption must be in writing and a Merchant Shipping Notice is considered an appropriate means to fulfil this requirement.

Anyone may respond to this consultation and consideration will be given to all responses. We are particularly interested to hear from fishers and operators of fishing vessels affected by the Regulations.

This consultation is open for 6 weeks from 16 January 2024. The deadline for responses is 27 February 2024.

Submitting your response:

The preference is for consultation responses to be emailed to medical@mcga.gov.uk. 

Any questions should also be sent to this email address. You can also send your response to: Maritime and Coastguard Agency, Spring Place, (Attention: Seafarer Safety and Health Team, Bay 2/17), 105 Commercial Road, Southampton SO15 1EG.

The role of your PO:

When responding, it would be very helpful if representative groups could give a summary of the people and organisations they represent, and where relevant who else they have consulted in reaching their conclusions.

New research finds concerningly low levels of trust in fisheries institutions post-Brexi

Strong trust between managers and fishers is essential for achieving sustainable fisheries

Rebuilding trust in fisheries governance will be vital to create a sustainable industry post-Brexit England, according to new research from the University of East Anglia.

Strong trust between managers and fishers is essential for achieving sustainable fisheries, but the new research has found worryingly low levels of trust in fisheries following the UK’s departure from the European Union.

The survey pioneered a methodology assessing different elements influencing trust. It revealed perceived incompetence, indifference to fishers' livelihoods, and inadequate consultation as major drivers of fishers' distrust towards fishery 

Lead researcher of the Pyramids of Life project Dr Silvia Ferrini, of the Centre for Social and Economic Research on the Global Environment (CSERGE), at the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia, said: “We found continued low levels of trust, possibly made worse by Brexit, with further deterioration compared to previous research.”

Lead author Maximilian Dixon, also of CSERGE at UEA, added: “It is evident that a history of failing to deliver and of broken promises has undermined trust in the institutions which govern fisheries in England and that they are weakly resilient to various potential disturbances such as natural disturbances, changes in policy, performance failure or personnel turnover.

“However, there are opportunities to improve trust relations by directly involving the fishing communities in the processes of governance. “An institutional commitment to improve trust relations and to learn from extreme events that impact the fishing industry could improve relations.”

The survey was distributed between July and August 2022 in a variety of ways using mailing lists, official social media platforms and an article in a fisherman’s newspaper, ‘Fishing News’.

It used novel methodology that allowed researchers to capture diverse types of trust and build a more nuanced picture.

Of the 94 responses collected, only 52 were complete and after removing responses from outside of England, 46 were used in the analysis, representing around 0.94 per cent of English fishers.

In particular, the research explores the effects of mass mortality of crustaceans along the coast of Teeside and Yorkshire in winter 2021, which heavily impacted the fisheries sector, including commercially important crabs and lobsters.

The survey found that the way it was handled by the Northern Eastern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities (NEIFCA) and Defra, and a subsequent string of reports into the cause will likely have affected trust relations, with elements such as transparency, competence and communication playing a large role in the conflict.

However overall, local institutions inspired relatively more trust, benefiting from better communication.

Co-researcher Dr Gaetano Grilli, Lecturer at UEA’s Norwich Business School, said: “Improved communication between fishers and local fishery officers could rebuild trust, enhancing confidence in institutions' competence and commitment to fishers' futures.

“This foundation of trust at the local level is pivotal for the co-operative management needed to ensure the long-term sustainability of England's fisheries.”

The research was in co-operation with Dr Rosalind Bark, Associate Professor in Ecological Economics at UEA’s School of Environmental Sciences, and Dr Bryce Stewart, Reader at the University of York’s Department of Environment and Geography. It was supported by UK Research and Innovation’s Sustainable Management of Marine Resources programme, the Pyramids of Life: Working with Nature for a Sustainable Future project and also involved the University of Siena, in Italy.

‘The importance of rebuilding trust in fisheries governance in post-Brexit England’ is published in Marine Policy.

Friday 2 February 2024

First #FishyFriday in February

Newlyn bathed in blue light again this morning, blue light has shorter rays better able to penetrate the atmosphere when the sun is just below or above the horizon...

in the market it's brilliant white light spread ove r the morning's auction floor with plenty of beam trawl fish like these megrims...



and monk...

all set for despatch...

name this fish...

inshore boats are all catching the odd dog...

among typical hauls for the time of year...

along with plaice...

the odd greater weaver...

el congeros...

large(ish) whitefish...

top quality red mullet...

and signs of good mackerel for the handliners...

the odd tope...

with a good shot of scallops,,,

and gurnard from the beam trawlers...

oh the joys of the box-washer...

big fish - big mouth...

another job off the list...

another hole in the life of the harbour...

as the sun begns to rise and permate the heavy cloud cover the cool blue hues recede...

good to see young Jamie heading out to sea...

Newlyn doesn't see too many cobles, a boat designed and built to fish from the stony beaches of North East England...

the Rebecca of Ladram sports a host of innovative features...

 including working a set of semi-pelagic doors...

league of nations...

good to see the Monty of Ladram back in Newlyn...

along with three other beam trawlers...

the Enterprise, making an appearance out of the blue...

Newlyn has its very own Newlyn Archive, now housed in the Old Post Office, and depicted in this painting by the late, great, Ken Howard RA.


Wednesday 31 January 2024

For any fisherman still having issues with opening and completing the MCA medical exemption.

For any fisherman still having issues with opening and completing the MCA medical exemption. Here is a copy in PDF form which can be printed out, completed and sent via post.

Post to: 

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), 
Bay 2/17, 
(Attention: Seafarer Safety and Health Team, Bay 2/17,) 
105 Commercial Road, 
SO15 1EG

Closure of fishing in the Bay of Biscay: the response of Breton professionals is being organized

Fishing News from Brittany:

Around fifty fishermen gathered in Concarneau (Finistère), Wednesday January 10 at the end of the day, to express their anger at the month-long closure of fishing to certain types of vessels in the Bay of Biscay in order to protect dolphins. and other small cetaceans. They plan to demonstrate soon in Paris.

Around fifty fishermen gathered in Concarneau want to organise themselves for the largest possible movement.

Coming from the ports of Concarneau, Lorient, Audierne, Lesconil, owners of gillnetters, in particular, gathered in Concarneau to organise themselves in the face of the decision of the Council of State at the end of December to suspend the exemptions from the decree of October 24 on the protection of small cetaceans in the Bay of Biscay, which would have allowed fishing vessels of more than eight meters using risky nets (trammel net, set gillnet, pelagic otter trawl, pelagic beef trawl and bottom beef trawl ) to continue fishing during the prohibition period, from January 22 to February 20.

They hope to quickly mobilize their ranks to organise a demonstration in Paris, or even in Brussels, headquarters of the European Commission. Professionals as well as a small handful of fishmongers and fishmongers came together at the initiative of Lorient resident David Le Quintrec, boss of the filleter Izel Vor II .

“Fishing is abandoned”

If the decision of the Council of State to immobilize some 450 gillnetters from the Bay of Biscay at the quayside is at the origin of the movement, the anger of the fishermen has more numerous reasons. The feeling, says one of them on condition of anonymity, that fishing is abandoned, that it is no longer defended by anyone […]. Everyone is having fun .

Diesel crisis, individualized support plan (PAI), Brexit, quotas… The list of obstacles facing the profession is long and seems endless. Present in the gallery alongside David Le Quintrec, Thomas Le Gall, president of the Pêche Avenir Cap Sizun association bringing together fishermen from Audierne, warns that it is entirely possible that the NGOs, galvanised by the decisions of the Council of State, seek in the future to drive home the point by demanding new periods of fishing closures. They can very well aim for there to be two months tomorrow, then three months of stopping fishing in winter and one month in summer , he maintains.

So what to do? In the room, voices are expressed to defy the ban on fishing. David Le Quintrec says he thought about it. But after gaining some height , he felt that the risk was too great that the insurance would not work in the event of a work accident or the slightest damage to the boat. Burning pallets no longer serves any purpose, we must strike harder, go and make ourselves heard in the streets, in Paris, if necessary with farmers by highlighting the defense of food sovereignty , we hear in the room.

A survival committee?

But with French fish representing only 20% of seafood consumption, French food sovereignty is already largely undermined. We must highlight the desire for survival of maritime communities who want to find levers to defend themselves, defends Thomas Le Gall. Public opinion is not favorable to us because we have not defended fishing properly. It's true that we are not helped by the way our bodies operate too vertically. We must therefore manage to change the law and structure ourselves.

The idea of ​​a survival committee was raised several times in the room. In the meantime, a representative fisherman was appointed for each port during the meeting. It is he who will relay the information locally to amplify the movement.

Monday 29 January 2024

New! The Fisheries and Seafood Scheme updates


The Fisheries and Seafood Scheme is expected to re-open in February, providing valuable grants to match-fund projects over the next year.

Since opening in 2021, the scheme has been incredibly successful with £27 million invested in over 1,300 projects supporting England’s catching, aquaculture and processing sectors, as well as projects that are improving the marine environment.

The fund is due to re-open in the coming weeks to deliver its final year allocation and will continue to support projects in a variety of areas, including health and safety, processing and production, partnerships, research and diversification. Port and harbour infrastructure projects should now apply to schemes under the national UK Seafood Fund.

The scheme, administered by MMO on behalf of Defra, delivers investments to safeguard the long-term sustainability, resilience and prosperity of the seafood sector across England.

Through the scheme, MMO has invested in:

More than 800 health and safety related projects providing equipment, PPE, vessel modifications and training courses.

Business diversification and strategic business development plans

Commissioning research.

Aims of the Fisheries and Seafood Scheme

The Fisheries and Seafood Scheme provides financial assistance for projects that support the development of the catching, processing and aquaculture sectors, and for projects that enhance the marine environment. The scheme is available to applicants whose organisation and/or vessels are registered in England.

The scheme will provide funding for a range of projects that deliver the following high-level outcomes:

  • Creating a more sustainable and resilient sector;
  • Boosting the demand for English seafood and accessing new markets;
  • Improving participation through co-design and co-management;
  • Achieving good environmental status through the conservation and restoration of the marine environment;
  • Supporting net zero through reducing emissions within the industry 

New areas of the scheme will be opened for applications for a defined period of time through funding rounds. The dates of these funding rounds will be announced in due course.

Who can apply for funding?

To be eligible for this scheme you must be one of the following:
  • An individual or business engaged within commercial or sea fishing, aquaculture or processing or an organisation or business engaged within recreational sea fishing; A public body or local authority in a local community that has a focus on fishing, aquaculture or processing activities (including trust ports and local authority ports, and public bodies, using funds for environmental improvements or the management of fisheries);
  • A university or research institute;
  • A new entrant to the industry or unemployed individual that could benefit from knowledge or skills in fishing, aquaculture or processing activities. 

You will be required to declare if you have received funding from other Government financial support schemes and, if so, what for. This is to prevent any duplication of funding and to ensure rules around maximum thresholds of support are complied with. If you are an applicant engaged in recreational sea fishing it is suggested that you contact the MMO Grants Team before making your application so that we can best advise you on how to complete your application form whilst additional IT development takes place.

If you are a business, you will need to declare which of the following categories you fall under definitions can be found in the general guidance document

  • micro-entity
  • small business
  • medium-sized business
  • larger enterprise.

You will be required to provide a level of match funding for your project. Please refer to guidance documents to see the latest rates that apply.