Anthony Mangnall MP (Totnes) will lead a debate in Parliament’s Westminster Hall on Tuesday 14th June 2022 to draw attention to the issues facing the small-scale and inshore fishing fleet and call for Government assistance.
As a representative for a coastal constituency which includes the ports of Brixham, Dartmouth and Salcombe, Mr Mangnall works closely with industry bodies and fishing businesses. Since his election in 2019, Mr Mangnall has met regularly with fishermen from his South Devon constituency to hear their concerns and discuss what additional support is needed for our coastal communities.
During next week’s parliamentary debate, Mr Mangnall will be focussing on the new regulations that are presenting challenges and additional burdens for inshore fishermen including: the Inshore Vessel Monitoring System (I-VMS), Catch recording and the Catch App, and Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) Code of Practice for Small Fishing Vessels.
The new requirements for all vessels under 12m in length to install I-VMS and to use the Catch App are part of the Government’s strategy to improve data collection within the UK fishing industry. However, I-VMS will lead to increased costs for small-scale fishermen despite full funding initially being promised, while there are also concerns surrounding the suitability of the equipment itself due to the reliance of GPRS. Concerns around Catch recording include the lack of appropriate infrastructure and connectivity at some ports as well as an overall lack of clarity on the rules to be followed.
A new code of practice has been developed by the MCA to improve safety on small fishing vessels. However, new requirements have left many fishermen feeling less safe fishing in bad weather than they did under the old code.
Mr Mangnall is hopeful that raising these issues in Parliament will encourage the MCA, MMO and Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to work together and to find the solutions to help our fishing communities develop and expand across our coastal areas. Members of Parliament from all parties from across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are expected to attend the debate and add to the discussion.
Speaking ahead of the debate, Anthony Mangnall MP said:
“Our coastal communities are not just tourist destinations but are home to our fishing communities and aquaculture businesses. They are an important part of local economy with integral historic links.
“Outside of the Common Fisheries Policy, we have the opportunity to be masters of our own fate. We must use this independence not to tie our fishermen’s hands behind their back but to give the flexibility and freedom to fish across our coastal waters. That means rethinking the requirements around I-VMS and ensuring the Catch App is flexible during its infancy. Above all, it means ensuring that the regulators and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs are working with those who go to sea, rather than against them.
“This debate continues upon the work that I and colleagues are undertaking to give the fishing industry a louder and more prominent voice within Westminster and Whitehall. We will use this opportunity to hold the Government’s feet to the fire and to ensure a common sense approach when it comes to supporting this sector.
“My aim is to the see the UK’s fishing fleets expand and develop to create new opportunities within every coastal town and village.”