Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Inshore fisheries: too important to ignore?

The bank holiday celebration of inshore fishing
Futures Forum: Sea Fest: Inshore fishing traditions gather in Sidmouth
featured Sidmouth's local fishing community
Futures Forum: Sidmouth Trawlers: representing UK in-shore fishing
which has worked with the larger inshore fishing community in Hastings:
Futures Forum: Tourfish in Hastings: 21st to 24th June: "raising awareness of inshore fishing and locally produced food - to promote the importance of these industries to local economies and responsible tourism."

Here are some of the videos from that event last summer:
TourFish Conference - YouTube

Much of this has been brought together by the "Geography of Inshore Fishing and Sustainability" (or Gifs) project, led by the University of Greenwich:

Fishing communities along the Channel and southern North Sea are facing challenges and changes at a time of strict regulation and measures to address the ‘crisis’ in fisheries. 
GIFS is a project co-funded by the Interreg IVa 2 Seas programme and has aimed to understand the socio-economic and cultural importance of inshore fishing to better inform fisheries policy, coastal regeneration strategies and sustainable community development. 
The project is a result from the collaboration of six partners from four European countries bordering the Southern North Sea and English Channel. 
It was recognized that, alongside food provision and contributing economically to coastal communities, inshore fishing also provides a range of broader social and cultural values and benefits

Geography of Inshore Fishing and Sustainability

Their recent publication asks the important question:

Inshore Fisheries too important to ignore?

Globally, an estimated 75% of the world’s fishing operations are artisanal or smallscale in nature and take place in coastal, inshore waters. These small-scale fisheries (SSF1 ) are estimated to account for 80% of the European Community fishing fleet while representing 40% of the workforce in the fisheries sector for most Member States2 . 
Taken together, SSF and IF generate a diverse range of inter-dependent livelihoods and provide significant indirect employment. Therefore, they make a vital contribution to the local economies, food security and trade as well as the social and cultural identity of Europe’s coastal communities. 
In the UK, the vessels under 10 m represent 75% of the fishing fleet, while they have access to 4% of the fishing quota3 . In France, 80% of the fishing fleet are vessels under 12 m4 . Belgium’s commercial fishing industry does not include SSF, yet fishing operations of vessels under 10 m in inshore waters are not subject to reporting or registration. 
Despite the significance of the inshore fleets, governments have largely ignored this sector and its importance, and its activity was left unrecorded. As a result, the importance of inshore fisheries has become invisible to the wider public, public services and authorities, and they are largely absent in national policy and decision-making. The time has come to reverse this situation.

Barriers to fishing community engagement: 
Inshore fisheries require a different management regime because of their diversity, local specificity and strong connection with local identity and resources. 

The purpose of governance structures imposed by national or EU authorities is often suspected to be the expansion of monitoring. The scale of bureaucracy in these structures repels fishers and other private sector members who feel the slow pace and prescriptive nature of the processing of grants and policy change are incompatible with the immediate pressing needs of the fishing industry.  

Inshore Fisheries too important to ignore? Gifs

The project has produced a 'toolkit' on how to deal with these issues:

Gifs project Toolkit
The future of fishing communities: new toolkit launched at Greenwich | Articles [Research stories] | University of Greenwich

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