Supporting the Fishing Industry and the Port in Leigh-on-Sea and the North Thames
The North Thames FLAG is a Community Led Development initiative, driven by local fishers to create a sustainable fishing industry in the North Thames– Environmentally, Economically and Socially.
We aim to imbed the fishing industry of the North Thames into the heart of North Thames coastal communities, by funding projects to bring local fisheries to the forefront.
We are covering the North Thames, from Thurrock to Shoeburyness (the FLAG area can be seen in the maps above). However, there are many other FLAGs, all across Europe. Together we have helped to support over 10,000 projects, bringing benefits to local communities, you can see where the FLAGs have been located so far below and find out more about other FLAGs here
FLAGs are not alone in supporting fishing communities, the New Economic Foundation have developed their project the Blue New Deal. This project looks at revitalising coastal communities; you can watch the clip below to see how a little help and funding can aid fishermen to do incredible things.
To help our fishermen in the North Thames, we will be supporting and funding projects which come under five priority areas, which local fishermen have identified.
- Infrastructure around Leigh Port
Leigh-on-Sea has been a fishing port for more than 1,000 years and is now the last of its kind on the North Thames. However, it is under threat, primarily from a lack of access, due to competition in Old Leigh with other industries but also from the continuing siltation of Leigh Creek, reducing vessel access. Finding long-term sustainable solutions to these issues is key to a future fishing industry in Leigh-on-Sea. Fishing in Leigh-on-Sea provides cultural identity, attracting tourists to the port for the sales of fish and shellfish. Investigating the challenges facing the port will also include improving facilities on the Port.
Below is the port as it is now.
- Environmental monitoring
The Thames Estuary is a nursery for many fish species and contributes to the wider fish populations of the North Sea, as well as the general wildlife of the Thames. There is also an active fishing industry based in the North Thames, in recent years, fish populations have declined and fishermen are no longer observing fish patterns that they once did. Monitoring the environmental changes of the Thames Estuary will lead to a better understanding of the flora and fauna and why changes have occurred. The FLAG invites project ideas in monitoring the Thames with particular attention to species which are targeted by local fishermen.
The Thames is home to many species and fish from there is a local, healthy source of omega oils and protein. The fishing industry in the Thames has a long and culturally rich history. Today the fishing industry brings in tourists, who view the boats and port, and stop for a fish supper or to go to local markets. Our preliminary surveys have found that local businesses unrelated to the fishing industry, recognise the value that the Thames fisheries bring to them. The North Thames FLAG want to promote the Thames as a local source of seafood. We would like to work to advertise some of the less commonly eaten, but still delicious species that are caught locally, and promote a more varied approach to eating seafood. We want to help the fishing industry to advertise themselves as a sustainable, local source of seafood, promoting the fishing industry locally.
The North Thames FLAG development process identified the need to engage new entrants into the fishing industry as the lack of new entrants in the area has lead to a reduction in the fishing industry. Traditionally fishers have been recruited via family and friends, and there is currently no communication to students and young people about fisheries as a viable career.
However, the fishing industry can offer an accessible, exciting and rewarding career path, with more options than you may think. The North Thames FLAG aims to open these up by exploring training opportunities. As well as linking young people to existing training opportunities which will provide a way to a fulfilling career on the Thames.
- Culture and heritage
The local identity of Leigh-on-Sea as a working port is of major importance to the local community, economy and wider Southend area. The fishing industry shapes the character of the local coastline but the industry is less embedded in the local community than it was in the past. Making clear links between fishing and the history of Leigh as a town, and championing the local fishing industry as a point of interest and a driver for tourism to the area, will help build local support for the future.
You can find out more about the project and the key priority areas by reading our Local Development Strategy.
The North Thames Fisheries Local Action Group (NTFLAG) is a three year program funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) between 2017 and 2020.
The FLAG is managed by Thames Estuary Partnership working with the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) and many local and national partners including The Cultural Engine, local fishermen and cocklers, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, Leigh Port Partnership, Leigh Town Council, Port of London Authority, universities and more.
Please see our newsletters here:
Please see our press releases here:
If you would like to access North Thames FLAG funding for a project in the North Thames area that aligns with priorities 1-5 you can find the application forms here:
If you would like to access EMFF Core scheme funding please see the list of eligible funding items here : Eligible Items for Fisheries
If you would like any help, advice or information the FLAG staff are more than happy to help.
North Thames Fisheries Local Action Group
Thames Estuary Partnership
University College London
Office for the Vice-Provost (Research)
26 Bedford Way
020 7679 8855
North Thames Fisheries Local Action Group Animateur
Contact Anna for help with project ideas, to appeal against a project rejection and for help with applications, filling out forms and any other project related questions.
North Thames Fisheries Local Action Group Manager
Contact Amy for general FLAG related enquiries and information about development and strategy.
North Thames Fisheries Local Action Group Coordinator
Contact Kes for information about project communications or admin related enquiries.
As community-led local development all FLAGs have a board, to help steer the direction of the FLAG. View our FLAG board members here. Our next board meetings at Leigh Community Centre, Room 6 :
Friday 23rd March 1-4pm
Friday 18th May 1-3pm
Copies of the board meeting minutes are available here:
NTFLAG is suspending the Environmental Monitoring, Marketing and Training Working Groups. Please feel free to discuss any project ideas with NTFLAG staff.
Environmental Monitoring Working Group:
Environmental Working Group Meeting Minutes (16/05/2017)
Culture and Heritage Working Group
Culture and Heritage Working Group Meeting arranged for the 27th Feb to be postponed due to weather concerns.
Fish/Shellfish Combined Marketing Working Group
Fish/Shellfish Combined Marketing Minutes (30/05/17)
Training/Marine Academy Working Group
Infrastructure Working Group: Meeting Pending.
Consultation process for the Leigh Port Infrastructure Feasibility and Options Appraisal Study information:
Leigh-on-Sea has benefitted from an established fishing community for centuries. This community has been important in shaping how the area has developed. However, in recent times the fishing industry has come under increasing pressures, in part due to the silting up of Leigh Creek which restricts vessel access. The traditional and active fishing port of Leigh-on-Sea is the last of its kind within the Thames Estuary. Therefore, it is important to establish sustainable solutions for long-term access to the port. This Leigh Port Infrastructure Feasibility and Options Appraisal Study is a priority project and seeks to identify cost effective solutions to improve long-term sustainable access to Leigh Port for all vessels.
1. Find cost effective and sustainable solutions to improve the long-term access to Leigh Port by all
2. Identify opportunities for effective long-term management and operation of port facilities.
3. Establish solutions which are compatible with the natural environment.
4. Provide solutions that support the aspirations for the future of Leigh Port as set out in the FLAG
Local Development Scheme.
This is a first stage study that will consider evidence from the feedback that you provide to this consultation alongside other technical, financial and environmental information that is available. Further studies will be required before any final scheme is identified, and it may be the case that there are no feasible options given.
How to give your view
There will be two events at Leigh Heritage Centre, 13A High Street, Old Leigh, SS9 2EN
1. Friday 16th March between 10am-5pm
2. Thursday 22nd March between 2pm-9pm
Members of Mott Macdonald, Southend Borough Council and the North Thames FLAG team will be present to answer any questions you might have.
You can leave your views online via Southend-on-Sea Borough Council’s Stickyworld
Follow the link below to the Southend-on-Sea Borough Council Leigh Port page where you can find paper copies of the questionnaire.
For more details of the consultation please email email@example.com or call us on 01702 215408 quoting Leigh Port consultation. The consultation is open until Monday 5pm 23rd April 2018.
There are 6 FLAGs across England, you can view websites for the other 5 FLAGs here:
FLAGs are an EU funded initiative, FARNET brings together the FLAG network and showcases example projects.