A research report commissioned by the national maritime welfare charity Seafarers UK has concludes that UK fishing communities require a fresh collaborative approach to innovative interventions to improve their wellbeing.
‘Fishing for a Future’ is a report by Cornwall Rural Community Charity and Rose Regeneration, published this summer following extensive research in 41 UK fishing ports and harbours.
Launched in London, the report was welcomed by George Eustice MP, Minister of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, who said: ‘As we leave the EU and look forward to a new era for fishermen, we have an opportunity to design a new domestic fishing policy, one which is in the best interests of all parts of the fishing fleet and allows our industry to thrive.
As part of this, it is crucial that we consider how fishermen are properly protected at work, enabling them to prosper at sea, while providing assurances for their families on land.’
Commodore Barry Bryant, Director General of Seafarers UK, commented: ‘At Seafarers UK we had long suspected that our fishing communities were the poor relations of our national maritime industry, but we needed some hard proof to guide our grant making and thus we instigated this research project to provide that evidential base.
We hope that other funders and key influencers will join us, collaborating on strategic projects that could make a real difference to the ability of fishermen to sustain their livelihoods for longer, improve their health and wellbeing, and enhance the safety of their dangerous profession.’
A new Fishermen’s Welfare Alliance has been formed to play a key role in the development and funding of solutions identified by fishermen that will make the greatest impact and support the UK’s fishing fleet.
Practical measures already underway include professional help for fishermen to make bids to the European Maritime & Fisheries Fund and Coastal Communities Fund; a mobile dental service for fishermen in Cornwall and Devon and their families; and funding for two credit unions offering fishermen access to affordable loans.
Click here to download the ‘Fishing for a Future’ report.
Thames Estuary Partnership is playing its part in creating a sustainable fishing industry in the North Thames by managing the North Thames Fisheries Local Action Group (NTFLAG). This is a Community-Led Local Development (CLLD) initiative, driven by local fishers, that funds projects to bring local fisheries to the forefront. Click here to read more about this initiative.