Event summary encourages a commitment to co-management in future policy
Following their relaunch event, the industry-led charity Fishing into the Future (FITF) has published an event summary that encourages a commitment to the language of co-management in future fishing policy.
The ground-breaking ‘Cast Your Voice – The Future of Fisheries Management’ event on 1st April 2021 focused on creating a dialogue around fishing, science and policy, and was well-attended by a variety of people within the UK the fishing sector. It provided an opportunity for people working in fisheries to explore the concept of co-management, share their experiences and diverse approaches to management and science, and discuss their ideas for the future of UK fisheries management.
The highlight of the event came from within intimate, thought-provoking group discussions, led by FITF fishing industry Trustees, David Stevens, Adrian Bartlett, Peter Bruce, and Jimmy Buchan. Conversations emphasized the importance of true collaboration between industry members in policy and science, and ensuring well-structured and transparent management processes while trialling new approaches of working together.
During the discussions there was a desire to move towards long-term commitments, with ideas put forward on what this might look like, how they could be funded, and how existing initiatives could be brought together effectively, with an appetite to see these approaches incorporated into policy.
Emma Plotnek, FITF Programme Manager said:
“We already know of so many forward-thinking initiatives that have the attributes of effective co-management and industry-led data collection – however, we must also remember we are still figuring out what co-management and collaborative science will look like in the UK. Looking to the future, we hope to see people from the industry engaged in the development of policies that tie these efforts all together.”
The event brought together a number of renowned, multi-disciplinary contributors, including Alexa Dayton, Scientist at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, who explained the US approach to fisheries management; Gus Caslake, Independent Chair of the Cornish Sardine Management Association, who spoke of collaboration and data collection within the organisation; Alan Steer, Vice-Chair of the South Devon and Channel Fishermen, who gave an insight into the history of the Inshore Potting Agreement in South Devon; and Jim Evans, Chair of the Welsh Fishermen’s Association (WFA), who presented on the effective relationship between the WFA and marine scientists to obtain data for better management decisions. These insights were followed up with some perceptions from within Government, with key messages shared by Robbie Fisher of DEFRA and Jim Watson of Marine Scotland.
It was highlighted during the event that the Scottish Fisheries Management Strategy 2020-2030 already uses clear language that is committed to co-management. During the event, Jim Watson of Marine Scotland reaffirmed that a commitment to co-management needs to be built into each part of the management process – established during the initial stages of development right through to delivery. Drawing on this valuable insight, FITF have drafted a summary of the event, in which one of the take home messages encourages the adoption of this approach more broadly into policy.
David Stevens, Chair of Fishing into the Future, said:
“A positive reception from government provided us with much reassurance, the next leap forward will be seeing specific wording in policy that commits all of us to these processes. We need to keep this at the forefront of our agenda as the Joint Fisheries Statement is being written throughout this year and next.”
FITF’s approach is unique and truly collaborative, as the charity is led predominantly by fishermen and those working in the fishing industry, who give their time voluntarily to support the charity whilst also running fishing businesses and working directly within the sector. FITF focuses on creating learning opportunities, encouraging collaboration, and providing a platform to enable effective dialogue and mutual understanding between the diverse set of people working across the fishing industry, science, and government.
Adrian Bartlett reflects on the recent dialogue held on the Future of Fisheries Management
Industry-led UK charity, Fishing into the Future (FITF), relaunched with an online event on Thursday 1st April 2021. The event brought together people working in UK fisheries to share successful examples of co-management and industry-led data collection, which then led to a lively discussion on the inherent challenges and opportunities within these processes, and what this means for future management of our fisheries. FITF Vice-Chair, Adrian Bartlett, helped to facilitate this dialogue and has shared some of his thoughts post-event:
“I come from a family of fishermen in South Devon, and through the course of my life have worked my way up from deckhand to skipper, and now work throughout the supply chain, sharing my passion for locally sourced shellfish with the Great British public. Not long ago I took on a new challenge to fill the position of Vice-Chair at the independent and fishermen-led charity Fishing into the Future – and I had to rapidly step up to the position on April 1st at the FITF relaunch event, by hosting a conversation around the future of fisheries management. While we were prepping, my fellow Trustees and I were nervous about how this conversation would go – never before has the industry endured such hard times, and people are angry and disillusioned while struggling to keep their heads above water. Given we’ve hit rock bottom, can we pull together to find our way back out?
I really have to hand it to the people from the industry who joined the event. Despite the difficulties we are faced with, people showed up to contribute respectfully and partake in a constructive dialogue on issues such as co-management and industry-led data collection. We saw old friends and new faces, small vessel owners who spoke for themselves and bigger players who have people that speak for them, and we encouraged some of the more timid voices among us to speak up and share their insights. We managed to have a rich conversation in a safe and neutral space where everyone’s voice was of equal value, and where government and scientists were willingly listening to us (and seemed to be agreeing with what we said!).
It gave me tremendous pride to feel part of a bigger picture, and I sincerely hope we carry on working together as one industry – putting aside fractious differences and pulling together over shared common goals, to move towards a better future for our fisheries sector.”
The full event can be viewed on the FITF Facebook page.
Fishing into the Future encourage fishermen to join the discussion on fisheries management
Industry-led UK charity, Fishing into the Future (FITF), relaunches with an online event on Thursday 1st April 2021. The event aims to provide an opportunity for people working in UK fisheries to have their say on the future of UK fisheries management and will be chaired and facilitated by FITF trustees, who voluntarily support the charity while also running fishing businesses or working closely with the sector.
A year has passed since FITF was able to gather at London’s Docklands for their last residential event “Introduction to Sustainable Fishing”, but as the weather warms up and with better fishing ahead, the UK charity is taking an adapted approach by taking their events online.
FITF focuses on creating learning opportunities, encouraging collaboration, and providing a platform to enable effective dialogue and mutual understanding between the diverse set of people working in the fishing industry, science, and government. The event will focus on the future of fisheries management, as well as hearing some successful case studies of fisheries management and collaborative science from the UK and beyond. Guests will include Deputy Director of Domestic Fisheries and Reform, Anne Freeman, Alan Steer, Vice-Chair of the South Devon and Channel Shellfishermen, Gus Caslake Independent Chair of the Cornish Sardine Management Association (CSMA), and more.
David Stevens, Chairperson at FITF and Skipper of the Crystal Sea SS 118 gave an insight into the event topic, saying “The term co-management is trending throughout industry conversations, but we still have a way to go to understand what it really means for us. There are already numerous fisheries in the UK that integrate some of the positive attributes of this management style, but widespread co-management is not going to happen overnight, it is going to take time and effort to build trust and knowledge, and tangible milestones need to be set along the way – such as more industry-led data collection. Undoubtedly, we will make mistakes, it’s part of the process to ensure that the sector will endure, grow, and prosper.”
Commenting on why FITF decided to hold the event, FITF Programme Manager, Emma Plotnek, said: “It’s been a tough year since we held our last event, but we want to offer the sector a space for constructive discussion and learning, and at the same time encourage a representative pool of people from the industry to get involved and voice their opinion.”
The event will be held over zoom, FITF will also be piloting the opportunity for people to watch the event live on their Facebook page. For those participating, break out rooms hosted by FITF trustees will enable deeper discussions on relevant topics. If you want to get involved, you can follow the event on the FITF Facebook Page, or contact the FITF programme manager.
Fishing into the Future hires new Programme Manager
Thanks to additional funding from Seafarers UK, FITF has hired Fisheries and Seafood expert, Emma Plotnek, to lead their programme of work. Emma returns to the UK after gaining more than a decade of international experience working with coastal communities between Canada and Chilean Patagonia, on multidisciplinary projects focused on capture fisheries and the aquaculture sector.
Emma will be working with FITF’s Trustees to continue building on their education and leadership programme and peer-learning network – to create opportunities for fishermen, scientists and fisheries managers to come together, build trust, and find solutions based on collaborative approaches that incorporate a broad spectrum of knowledge and skills.
This work will help to better prepare the sector through the delivery events, webinars, and tailored workshops – as well as building digital resources, so the diverse stakeholders involved in the UK’s fishing sector can gain access to the skills, knowledge and connections they need to effectively participate in a range of management, science and business scenarios.
Due to the Covid-19 restrictions, the team at FITF will focus on building relationships and knowledge remotely through an online network and series of digital interventions and events, aiming to restart face to face activities in 2021.
The Fishmongers’ Company and Fishing into the Future form a Strategic Partnership
Fishmongers’ Company’s Fisheries Charitable Trust (FCFCT) is pleased to be joining forces with the charity Fishing into the Future (FITF) through a transition period from 2020 to 2022. The partnership will enable the fishing industry to develop leadership skills and a voice in co-management.
The FCFCT supports a wide range of projects, grants, and convening, to Build and safeguard a prosperous and sustainable fishing industry, for the benefit of those engaged in it, the environment, and our island nation. This partnership will form part of a wider engagement the FCFCT has with the UK fishing industry and FCFCT’s Fish & Fisheries team will be working closely with the FITF team.
FITF and FCFCT will use their trusted networks to engage with fishermen, scientists, government, and seafood businesses to help build a transdisciplinary approach to fishery management that emphasises the need for collaborative problem‐solving among stakeholders. As two neutral and independent organisations, they are trusted facilitators within the seafood industry and have the freedom to develop innovative solutions.
With financial support from the FCFCT and additional resource capacity from one of the FCFCT’s Programme Managers, Alison Freeman, the collective aim of the partnership is to build upon the FITF education programmes and improve access to the tools, information and training needed to bolster the fishing industry and coastal economies. A priority going forward will be to develop a supportive alumni network, which will offer ongoing support and training to the attendees of FITF initiatives. Under the new direction, FITF will also support regional and gear/species-specific meetings, workshops, and symposiums, as well as explore radical opportunities for participation in co-management and embed the FITF curriculum into early career development programmes.