Fishing for Leave feel it necessary to strongly rebuke the NFFO statement on the discard ban, by Barrie Deas in Fishing News on 12th January.
Fishing for Leave feels it is scarcely credible that the position and answer from the Federations on the horrific impact of the discard ban and choke species has become wishful thinking and standing with their eyes shut hoping it won’t be enforced.
For them to say that it is one thing to focus on introducing legislation not on how you successfully implement it and that “it is one thing to write regulations but it is another to change behaviour at sea” is ridiculous.
These statements, put bluntly, say the federations position is to hope the discard ban will be payed lip service and that the industry can cheat its way around it.
Is this what fisherman and their families have to base their future on – to close their eyes and hope a calamity goes away?
At what point in the previous 20 years have any rules not been fully enforced and the industry not policed disproportionately to ensure compliance?
Furthermore, by trailing catch quotas and the discard ban with the CCTV cod trials the Federations, through short term naivety (fueled by short sighted greed for extra cod quota), have developed a CCTV monitoring system to ensure full compliance with the discard ban.
Fishing for Leave are the only fishermen’s organisation offering practical solutions that allow the industry to address and circumvent the cause of the problem, which is the EU quota system that is ill fitted to the UK’s demersal mixed fisheries, rather than hoping a crushing ban on the symptoms is not enforced.
It is fact that the discard ban and the resultant choke species are going to see the ruination of the UK fleet as quantified by the Seafish Landing Obligation (discard ban) report.
That is why Fishing for Leave propose a new system of mixed fisheries management that would allow all to prosper and provide security for the industry whilst allowing the government a diplomatic clean break from the EU Quota system and the Discard ban.
Our proposal is to move to a Days-at-Sea regime for mixed fisheries whilst retain FQA entitlements to provide industry and business security.
Converting them to entitlements of flexible catch composition percentages that would act as a discouragement from a free for all but stop discards by allowing land what you catch in exchange for sacrificing time at sea.
Sadly, a minority are being blinded by short sighted focus on vested quota interests and the two federations are leading the industry in to the operational and diplomatic abyss by being quota blinded.
To retain or replicate the system of EU quotas for mixed fisheries will see the UK diplomatically trapped and the opportunity of a clean break automatically repatriating all resources squandered by starting from the status quo.
It will see the industry decimated with the discard ban. Yet the sole Federation response to safeguard lives, livelihoods and generation of fishing heritage is wishful thinking or mitigation measures that amount to re-arranging the deck chairs on a sinking ship.
Fishing for Leave are the only industry organisation fighting tooth and nail for brand new fit for purpose UK policy that doesn’t adopt any of the CFP to see a clean start and a policy that gives a future for the whole UK industry regardless of size and sector.
We will continue to do so and welcome all industry support to save our industry and realise the opportunity of a fresh start with Brexit.