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Active fishermen join Future of Our Inshore Fisheries steering group

Article Date: 2020-01-24

Six active fishermen from across the country have been invited to join the steering group of the Future of Our Inshore Fisheries project as it moves into its next phase.

The group – who all attended the milestone Future of Our Inshore Fisheries conference in October last year – will play a vital role in determining the next steps of the ambitious project, which aims to ensure that inshore fisheries, the marine environment and coastal communities are sustainable and thriving.

Alasdair Hughson (Kyleakin), Ned Clark (North Shields), Aubrey Banfield (Dorset), Joel Dunn (Plymouth), Brackan Pearce (Newlyn) and Len Walters (Cardigan) have joined the Future of Our Inshore Fisheries steering group, which held its first meeting of 2020 in London on Thursday 23 January.

The fishermen will attend future meetings on a rota basis, with at least two of the group in attendance each time the steering group meets, ensuring representation from active fishermen but reducing the number of days at sea lost by any one individual.

The industry led steering group includes representatives from several fishermen’s representative bodies including National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations (NFFO), Scottish Fishermen's Federation (SFF), Anglo-North Irish Fish Producers Organisation (ANIFPO) and the Coastal Producers Organisation (CPO). Others represented on the steering group include DEFRA, DAERA, the Marine Management Organisation, CEFAS and the Association of IFCAs. The steering group is chaired by Michel Kaiser, Professor of Fisheries Conservation at Heriot Watt University, and facilitated by Seafish, the public body that supports the £10bn UK seafood industry.

Commenting on the appointments Professor Kaiser said:

“This project has been led by the industry from the start and relies on the involvement, expertise and experience of active fishermen. We had excellent representation from fishermen at the Future of Our Inshore Fisheries conference last year and we are delighted that Alasdair, Ned, Aubrey, Joel, Brackan and Len have stepped into a leadership role to help to shape this next critical phase.”

Set-up in January 2019, the Future of Our Inshore Fisheries project aims to establish a blueprint for a collaborative management approach which will ensure that both inshore fisheries and coastal communities are sustainable and thriving into the future.

Almost sixty active fishermen attended the Future of Our Inshore Fisheries conference in October 2019 - thanks in part to bursaries provided by companies and organisations from throughout the seafood supply chain - to discuss relevant issues with policy makers, regulators, industry leaders, researchers and the environmental community.

On the agenda for discussion at the first steering group of 2020 was the draft report which captures the views expressed at the conference and the common themes as well as determining an action plan of next steps. The steering group will provide an update in the near future. For more information on the project visit

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