Plymouth City Council has invited the fishing community to give views on the impact of the fisheries and trade deal
Plymouth City Council has invited the Plymouth fishing community to come forward and give their thoughts on the impact of the fisheries and trade deal with the European Union.
The Council is to investigate the impact of new fishing and trade deals on the local fishing industry at a special Scrutiny Committee on commercial fishing following reports of major problems with exports to mainland Europe.
The UK Government has promised £23 million to help seafood processing companies hit by delays which were not their fault but now fishermen have been told that no money from the fund will be distributed to them.
Industry representatives have said that extra paperwork has made it difficult to deliver fresh produce to mainland Europe, which is a major market for UK-landed produce.
At Monday’s Full Council meeting, it was announced that fishermen who land and/or sell their catch through Plymouth, along with exporters who trade Plymouth landed or bought fish, are being invited to give evidence to the committee of Councillors on the 12th February 2021.
Councillor Tudor Evans OBE, Leader of Plymouth City Council, said: “Plymouth is not only a major fishing port but also a regional hub for the South West. This is an industry not just valued for its economic contribution to our city, but its significance to our heritage. We have grave concerns that the new trade agreement does NOT deliver on promises that were made, or for our local fishermen or indeed Plymouth.
“But we want to hear from those who are directly impacted. What do you think the impact will be? What can be done to maximise opportunity and limit or mitigate any problems? We are here to help, but we do not want to guess what you need, we understand that one size does not fit all, so we want to hear from as many sectors and individuals as possible. Please take the time to submit a video or email, help us, help you.
“We know that the industry work at sea most of the time and not at a desk. We want to make it as simple as possible to give us evidence – that could be in writing or as a video statements that they can send in to us.”
The Council would like to hear from people who fish out of Plymouth, land in Plymouth and those that overland their fish to Plymouth for sale. The Council would also like to hear from exporters and the supply chain businesses that trade and work with Plymouth fish and shellfish. This can be a written statement, or video recorded statement. We would be grateful if video submissions are kept to less than five minutes.
The three subjects that the committee are interested in hearing about are:
• The impact of the Trade Agreement and deal that was struck on fishing?
• The impact of the new rules governing the export of fish introduced on January 1st 2021?
• What can be done to support your fishing, export, supply chain business?
Cllr Darren Winter told councillors that nearly 2,000 jobs relied on the fishing industry in Plymouth. He announced a special session by the Brexit scrutiny panel in February to hear evidence from the sector.
The Labour councillor said: “We recognised during negotiations with the EU that there was the potential for growth in our industry, as outlined in our Plan for Sustainable Fishing which was scrutinised last year.
“However, it has been 24 days since the Government-negotiated Trade and Co-operation deal with the EU has kicked in and it is clear that there are genuine issues with our industry and its ability to do business – with fish rotting in lorries, and the industry protesting and trying to raise legitimate concerns which are being dismissed as teething problems or even worse being blamed.”
He added: “We will engage where the Government has not, and we will do what we can as a city to help our catchers and exporters get the support to maintain our local industry.
“We have gone from the potential for growth to damage limitation. The fishing industry didn’t want handouts to shore up their losses, they wanted the deal and the benefits they were promised.
“These issues could be temporary, but that misses the point. For every day we aren’t exporting our goods, that’s another day of lost custom, and a customer who looks elsewhere for their supply, and their temporary supply fixes becoming permanent.
“It is therefore vital that our precious fishing industry is engaged with to expedite the support that they urgently need. Where the Government is failing, it falls to this Labour Plymouth City Council to support our fishing industry.” (Source)