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This conference focused on the way forward for fisheries management in the UK.
It was a timely opportunity for stakeholders and key policymakers to examine next steps following the recently published Joint Fisheries Statement from Defra and the UK devolved governments, which sets out how the administrations will apply policy aimed at meeting objectives around protecting fish stocks, supporting industry, fisheries management and the environment.
Delegates discussed key issues regarding implementation, including the development of fisheries management plans to incorporate an ecosystem-based approach, tailoring those plans, the way forward for partnerships, and priorities for monitoring progress of outcomes.
We are pleased to have been able to include a case study from the bass fishery management plan, which is one of six frontrunner plans that will inform future development. There were also keynote contributions from Robbie Fisher, Head of Domestic Fisheries Sustainability and Devolution, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; Barrie Deas, Chief Executive, National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations; and Kristine Bergan, Counsellor for Trade, Industry and Fisheries, Royal Norwegian Embassy.
Attendees also looked at priorities for supporting the fishing industry, along with the communities and partners that depend on it, as well as building sustainability and resilience, addressing workforce shortfalls, adapting to climate change, supporting coastal communities, and issues around quotas, competitiveness, trade and exports.
Overall, areas for discussion included:
- fisheries management: developing effective and tailored fisheries management plans - partnership working - options for monitoring progress
- sustainability: collaborative approaches across the UK and coastal states - sustainable fishing practices - adaptation to climate change
- industry pressures: taking fisheries management forwards in the context of pressures affecting the sector - rising costs and international conflict - managing the impact of offshore wind
- long-term resilience: addressing workforce shortages and skills gaps - supporting coastal communities and infrastructure - improving preparedness to shocks
- competitiveness: the impact of quota negotiations - building new markets - expanding opportunities for the UK’s seafood export sector
The conference was an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the issues alongside key policy officials who attended from the CCC; DAERA; Defra; Department for Business and Trade; Department of Finance, NI; DIT; FSA; FSS; HM Treasury; House of Commons Library; Isle of Man Government; Marine Scotland; The Scottish Government; and the Welsh Government - as well as by parliamentary pass-holders from The House of Commons.