Representing small-scale fishermen across Europe, LIFE (Low Impact Fishers of Europe) has going through a process of restructuring

Established in 2012 on the eve of the newly reformed CFP, LIFE (Low Impact Fishers of Europe) was formed with the aim of representing European small-scale fishermen and 80% of vessels by number at a European level. Three years ago a branch was opened in Brussels, and now changes are taking place to the organisation’s structure.

LIFE’s Executive Director Jerry Percy is to step down and take up the part-time role of senior adviser. The deputy director’s role is being subsumed into the newly created post of executive secretary, to be taken up by current LIFE deputy Brian O’Riordan

‘LIFE is now entering a new phase, building on what we have learnt and achieved during our start up period and guiding us to focus on the provision of greater support to our members,’ he said.

‘This will enable LIFE to engage at local and regional levels through specific projects on the water face as well as by increased lobbying efforts both nationally and in Brussels.’

In November the board of directors approved a plan for the LIFE’s further development and growth. This aims to further consolidate LIFE’s role as the dedicated voice for small-scale, low impact fishers across Europe.

The restructuring involved moving LIFE’s registration from the UK to Belgium, not only due to the implications of Brexit for UK-registered organisations, but to become more centrally established at the heart of Europe.

‘However, LIFE will remain committed to the concerns of the UK small vessel fleet, and according to the outcome of Brexit, LIFE’s UK members will continue to receive our support under an associate membership arrangement,’ Brian O’Riordan commented.

‘Since opening an office in Brussels in 2015, and under the direction of its board of small-scale fishers, LIFE has successfully established itself as the recognised body exclusively representing the interests of small-scale low impact sector. This European level representation has been complemented by LIFE’s extensive engagement in the Advisory Councils at regional level across many of Europe’s sea basins from the Baltic to the Mediterranean, supported by its regional coordinators managing specific projects in partnership with our member organisations.’

He added that it has become abundantly clear to LIFE during its initial development phase that there is an absolutely vital need for a specific and dedicated voice for the small-scale fleet across Europe.

‘This need has been acknowledged and supported by both past and current DG MARE Commissioners and their staff,’ he said, adding that retaining Jerry Percy’s input is of great value to LIFE.

‘We are confident that LIFE’s further development and growth will provide an even firmer foundation for its future work and securing the rightful place for small-scale, low impact fisheries at the centre of fisheries policy making.’

Source: LIFE