Seafish launches annual economic fleet survey

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Seafish has launched its 11th annual economic survey of the UK fishing fleet and next week (20th July – 24th July) it will be visiting ports in The Hebrides.

Seafish’s researchers will also be visiting Northern Ireland, ports between Tarbert and Ayr and communities between Hartlepool and Scarborough in the North East of England. The following week (27th July – 31th July) they will turn their attention to England’s South West.

Over the summer months Seafish researchers will visit ports across the UK to speak to vessel owners and skippers from all sectors of the industry to collect data on fishing and vessel costs. By gathering this information Seafish economists will then be able to build a current and insight-led picture of the UK fleet’s economic performance.

The results, to be published in 2016, are intended to guide industry and policy makers understanding of the socio-economic consequences of ongoing changes to fisheries management measures in addition to the wider financial climate. This year the survey will also incorporate additional research to investigate the impact of the Landing Obligation on strategic intentions for demersal and nephrops vessel businesses.

Having been well received by industry in previous years, the survey will again be supported by a number of national federations and local associations around the UK.

Tom Pickerell, Technical Director of Seafish explains: “In 2014 almost 600 fishermen were interviewed so this year we are aiming to exceed that level. As always, the more vessel owners that take part, the more robust the results will be.”

Researchers will also be tasked with finding stories for the second issue of Seafish’s highly successful Quay Issues magazine. Due for publication in November 2015, the magazine examines the issues faced by fishermen and also shares inspiring stories about the innovative and creative solutions fishermen across the country have developed to overcome the challenges they encounter in their working lives. Launched in January this year, so far over four thousand copies of the first issue have been distributed, setting a high bar for the second edition.

Tom Pickerell continued: “Without the valuable participation of vessel owners, our economics team would not be able to accurately represent the economic performance and map the pressures being experienced by the UK fishing fleet over the last 10 years.

“This is a hugely important exercise that enables us to better understand the industry as a whole and as a result helps us to inform key decision makers at a national and European level. We therefore urge skippers and boat owners across the UK to be part of the project by speaking to our researchers so that we can present the most accurate picture possible and help drive better informed policy.”

Barrie Deas, Chief Executive of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO), added: “To put forward as strong a case as possible to government, at both a national and European level, we must ensure the data presented is as robust as possible. That is why we at the NFFO consider this survey and vessel owners’ participation to be so important.”

Fishermen and vessel owners should look out for Seafish’s team of four researchers who will conduct the survey from July to September. They will be tweeting regular updates as they work their way around the coast. Follow their progress @seafishuk, on the Seafish website or in Fishing News.