The NFFO has called on the Government for further financial support for the fishing industry
The National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO) has written urgently to fisheries ministers making the case for a further tranche of financial support under the Fisheries Response Fund.
The fishing industry has suffered severe stress over the past twelve-months with the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic closing traditional markets on the Continent leaving some fishing vessels tied-up or working short-weeks at the start of 2020.
In April 2020, the UK Government announced a £10 million Fisheries Response Fund to aid the fishing industry which was welcomed by the NFFO.
Pre-Christmas, France closed its border with Britain due to the outbreak of the UK variant of COVID in southeast England and more recently border control issues post-Brexit at British ports have seen chaos as seafood exporters lost hundreds of thousands of pounds everyday as their product sat in lorries depreciating in value or else, having to be discarded.
UK fish exporters have found themselves buried in paperwork when trying to export their product to the EU, with small mistakes proving costly.
In January, British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson promised a £23 million compensation package to fish exporters affected by recent events, but the fund did not extend to the fishing industry itself.
Now the NFFO has written to the UK’s fisheries ministers, asking them to provide much-needed financial support to an industry suffering the long-term effects of COVID and more recently, Brexit carnage.
NFFO letter to:
Secretary of State George Eustice MP
Fisheries Minister Victoria Prentis MP
Dear Secretary of State/ Minister
Your department and the Marine Management Organisation can take due credit for successfully pulling together an evidence-based case to the Treasury for the industry package of financial support announced in April.
It is deeply regrettable, but not entirely unforeseen, that I now have to make the case to you for a further tranche of support.
Covid related market disruption, border issues related to the UK’s departure from the EU single market and customs union, and the pre-existing lack of resilience in parts of the fleet due to successive periods of bad weather, all combine to put many fishing businesses in a financially parlous position.
Against this background, we request that you give urgent consideration to a further approach to the Treasury to release tranche funds to keep our sector afloat financially.
The purpose, as with the initial package of support, would be to ensure the survival of fishing businesses faced with fixed costs and reduced income, so that we have an industry when the pandemic recedes, and trading relationships settle down.