Thursday, 24 March 2022

Fuel Crisis - NFFO letter to Fisheries Minister


 

Dear Minister

Fuel Price Crisis

I know that your officials have been monitoring the price of fuel in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and are aware that for some classes of fishing vessel we are approaching the threshold at which it becomes uneconomic to go to sea. For some vessels this point may already have been passed.

It will not have escaped your notice also, that other countries, and fisheries administrations within the UK, are putting in place measures to sustain their fishing sectors.

There are, of course, immediate business, personal, and community consequences when vessels are forced to tie-up in this way. Over and above these however it is important to recognise that without landings of fish, the whole supply chain cannot function. The invasion of Ukraine has brought into sharp focus issues surrounding energy and food dependency. The contribution made by the UK fishing industry to national and global food security should be central to the Governments revaluation of its policy priorities moving forward in these new, radically altered conditions.

Against this background, and the continuing volatility in the price of fuel, we consider that it is vital to begin work on support arrangements that would allow threatened fishing vessels to continue functioning. We are not oblivious to the fact that people across the whole country are suffering from the increased cost of energy and foodstuffs. A starting point might be the repurposing of the funds currently allocated under FASS. Put bluntly, investing in infrastructure for the future is important but only if we maintain the fleets through this (hopefully) short-term crisis. It is imperative that the government finds a way to support the sector through the second crisis in as many years.

We would value the opportunity to speak to you directly about the challenges facing our industry in these troubled times.