Paul Gilson, the next chairman of the NFFO

Paul Gilson, the next chairman of the NFFO

Longstanding member of the NFFO’s Executive Committee and vice-chairman of its South- East Committee, Paul Gilson, has been elected as the next chairman of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisation (NFFO).

Paul has also been chairman of Leigh and Southend Fisherman’s Association for many years. The NFFO chairman is appointed for two years before usually being elevated to the president’s role.

Cornish fisherman, Andrew Pascoe will continue as president and will chair the NFFO annual general meeting later this week.

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Paul comes from a family that has fished the Thames estuary and southern North Sea for over 200 years. Over his time in the fishing industry he has owned and fished seven trawlers and currently has one more vessel under construction. With 30 years as a lifeboatman, and senior helmsman for 20 years, he has received numerous awards, including one from the royal humane society.

NFFO Chief Executive, Barrie Deas, welcoming the appointment said, “One of the strengths of the NFFO is the pool of diverse talent around our table that we can draw on to support our work. Paul recognises this and has personally made an enormous contribution as Vice-Chairman of the NFFO’s South-East Committee.  I have no doubt that he will make a similar contribution as chair of our Executive Committee. Given the pressures facing our industry, this is a very demanding time to lead the national federation but as well as his direct fishing experience, Paul brings with him a wealth of knowledge based on his time as local councillor and chairman of his local town council. His time spent as vice-chairman of the Kent and Essex Sea Fishery Committee will also provide valuable experience.”

In accepting his new position Paul said, “I would especially like to thank Tony Delahunty and Andrew Pascoe who have been acting as co-chairs following the regrettable departure of former chairman Andrew Locker, who was obliged to seek employment outside the industry. It is comforting to know that I can turn to them for guidance at any time.

Although I have my roots in the inshore sector, like others in the NFFO, I appreciate the importance of a diverse and profitable fleet in the UK, embracing all sizes of vessel and sustainable methods of fishing.”

Paul was amongst the first to flag up the ecological changes observed in the Thames Estuary that have led to a dramatic drop in the catches of some customary commercial species like sole and the rise of other non-commercial species – giving rise to an industry crisis in the area.

Paul will take up his duties at the first meeting of the NFFO Executive following the AGM later this week, which will be attended by the Secretary of State, George Eustice.

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