View Full Version : NFFO under pressure to reveal quota held by foreign boats

Davie Tait
27th March 2013, 16:56
http://www.fishupdate.com/news/fullstory.php/aid/19239/_NFFO_under_pressure_to_reveal_quota_held_by_forei gn_boats.html

Pressure is mounting on the National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations (NFFO) to disclose the amount of fishing quota held by its foreign-controlled members after Greenpeace released more evidence of large-scale quota exploitation by Spanish-controlled vessels affiliated to a fishing consortium represented by the federation.

The environmental group claims that a Spanish-controlled 'phantom fishing fleet', affiliated to the Fleetwood Fish Producer Organisation (FFPO) but not seen by local people for over a decade, has been carting off to Spain millions of pounds worth of fish caught using quota allocated to Lancashire fishermen.

Greenpeace claims that previously unpublished landings figures obtained by the organisation show that seven of the 14 Spanish-controlled vessels registered with the FFPO landed £7.5m worth of fish destined for the Spanish market in just one year, between April 2011 and March 2012. According to local industry sources in Scotland, where the fish is landed, catches are immediately trucked off to Spain, having been pre-sold there before even touching the ground.

The details have emerged just days after the fisheries minister announced a clampdown on foreign fishing interests profiting from UK quota amid fears that vessels owned by overseas operators are contributing little or nothing to the British economy. The latest government estimates suggested that foreign-controlled vessels like those in Fleetwood are likely to add no value to the British economy, instead exploiting UK fishing quota to trouser what should be UK profits.

"It’s deeply concerning that foreign boats in the crosshairs of a government clampdown on fish quota ‘abuse’ are represented by the industry’s most influential lobby group,” said Ariana Densham, Greenpeace oceans campaigner.

"The NFFO has been sticking its head in the sand on the issue of its foreign-dominated fleet, but reality is catching up with their denial.”

Densham added: “Last year the federation came out in favour of a public register of quota holders arguing that it would stop 'hysterical speculation'. Now that the speculation has turned into troubling evidence, it’s time for the NFFO to put its money where its mouth is and be transparent about how much fishing quota is held by its foreign-controlled members.”

Davie Tait
28th March 2013, 16:31

NFFO Slams Greenpeace For Failing To Act on Real Issues Affecting UK Fishermen

Fishing Industry Body Calls Latest Claims 'Unqualified, Assumption-Based Nonsense'

The National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations (NFFO) has slammed claims by international environmental giant Greenpeace as 'unqualified, assumption-based nonsense' which are causing distraction from the industry's critical work on issues affecting the future livelihoods of UK fishermen.

The Federation, which represents fishermen's groups, individual fishermen and producer organisations in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, said that despite repeated, public invitations Greenpeace has failed to accept its offer to meet and discuss issues or qualify any of its claims, instead opting for a sensationalist media approach which does little to support the real interest of the industry.

Barrie Deas, Chief Executive of the NFFO, said: "Greenpeace are set on creating a sensationalist media storm fuelled by inaccuracies and gross generalisation. This is wasting valuable time and effort better spent dealing with some of the critical issues at hand, including the impact of the CFP reform, under-10s and long term management plans.

"The NFFO has now repeatedly exposed Greenpeace's generalisations and misrepresentations on how the industry works which ultimately only serves to undermine their reputation in the sector. They have yet to approach us direct with any of their assertions and our repeated efforts to meet with them to look at more credible and effective solutions for supporting our fishermen have been ignored. As such it calls into question their real motives."

"Once again we extend our offer to meet with Greenpeace to help put to bed any other inaccurate assumptions they decide to make about our membership."

Greenpeace's most recent attack on the industry body centres around allegations against Anglo-Spanish members of the Fleetwood Fish Producer's Organisation, who it claims are taking quota away from UK vessels. Greenpeace has omitted to point out that local fishermen invited the Anglo-Spanish vessels to join their organisation and that the UK quota under which the Anglo-Spanish vessels operate are based on historical records generated by the Anglo-Spanish vessels themselves, before the quota was allocated to the UK.

Last year the Fleetwood Fish Producer's Organisation contributed £600,000 worth of quota to meet its economic link obligations, which was in the main used for the benefit of under-10 meter fisheries. Also the Anglo Spanish vessels fish entirely different species in completely different areas and are therefore not in competition for quota with local fishermen.

Early in the month Greenpeace was exposed for making false claims around NFFO subscription fees being dominated by non-UK vessels. In previous statements, the NFFO has also criticised the environmental giant's false allegations against membership structure, making clear its membership reflects the diversity of the UK fleet. Just 8% of its member vessels are owned outside the UK.

As part of its commitment to ensuring the fair distribution of quotas, the NFFO shares the view of the Marine Management Organisation that the UK fishing industry is highly compliant with the rules under which it is obliged to operate. It has said any individual vessel operator, irrespective of home port, operating outside these rules it can expect to face the full legal penalties. It has also supported calls for the publication of a register of UK quota to help promote a fairer and more transparent quota system.

Additionally, in the interests of transparency, the Federation has released a breakdown of its membership base in response to Greenpeace's requests and has publically asked Greenpeace to meet to address any issues that they might with to raise on a number of occasions.

For more information about the NFFO or to read the Federation's official responses to Greenpeace's previous allegations visit www.nffo.org.uk