Fishing communities are central to the UK’s coastal economies and heritage and are vital in supplying our namesake trade with fresh, sustainable seafood. This understanding underpins the Company’s commitment to building a prosperous future for the UK fishing industry through our support for and engagement with collaborative and innovative projects. Effective and fair management of our fisheries, that works for both our ecosystems and the fishermen that rely on them, is crucial in supporting and developing healthy and thriving coastal communities.
This is why the Company’s Fisheries Charitable has strengthened its strategic partnership with Fishing into the Future (FITF), an independent UK charity led by people working in the fishing industry. The partnership includes a substantial grant to implement a three-year work programme that builds on their innovative learning and leadership initiative. This work is being coordinated by fisheries and seafood expert, Emma Plotnek, who has been brought on board to take on the role as FITF’s Programme Manager.
The major initiatives enabled by this grant will build on the charity’s education and leadership programme as well as strengthen an established peer-learning network. Since its inception, FITF has been instrumental in delivering unique learning opportunities designed to equip fishermen, scientists and fisheries managers with the knowledge, connections, and confidence to work together towards effective fisheries management, for a sustainable and prosperous UK fishing industry. Due to the Covid-19 restrictions, FITF is currently focused on building relationships and knowledge remotely through an online network and series of digital interventions and events, aiming to restart face-to-face activities later in 2021.
Fishing into the Future’s Chairman, Dave Stevens, owner and skipper of the demersal trawler, Crystal Sea SS 118, remarks on the importance of charity’s work and the benefit the support from The Fishmongers’ Company will bring:
“Improving regular communication between stakeholders is fundamental if we are to build trust among industry players, but on top of this we aim to increase the impact of these conversations by improving how we talk and listen to one another. When you compare a fisherman’s background with that of scientists and policy makers, we have a very different formation and experience, which puts us at risk of not making ourselves heard – or lacking the technical language to communicate what we know best through experience. Thanks to the support from the Fishmongers’ Company, we can continue devise and deliver solutions to help communication, build transparency and foster co-management that is nurtured by collaborative data collection and science.”
Support from funders such as the Fishmongers’ Company’s Fisheries Charitable Trust, and the voluntary input from FITF’s Trustees is vital to prove the concept that viable solutions to complex problems can be achieved through building knowledge and understanding among people working in UK fisheries.
Additional time and expertise is provided by Alison Freeman, Fisheries Programme Manager at Fishmongers’ Company. She added:
“We support a wide range of projects, grants, and convening to build and safeguard a prosperous and sustainable fishing industry that benefits its users. This collaboration aims to help build a transdisciplinary approach to fisheries management that emphasises the need for collaborative problem‐solving among stakeholders.”
Through additional funding from Seafarers UK, FITF has hired fisheries and seafood lead, Emma Plotnek, to coordinate this new programme of work. Emma is currently focused on strengthening and developing FITF’s network to improve knowledge, cohesion and collaboration within the UK fishing sector. This includes preparing events and tailored workshops, so that a representative pool of people within the catching sector can participate in management, science, and business scenarios. Emma adds:
“Once the value of this work is fully appreciated, we hope the work delivered by FIFT will become integrated into the foundations of a prosperous UK fishing sector, based on effective dialogue, collaboration and a mutual understanding.”
The Charity’s work depends on engagement from a fully representative body of supporters and if you would like to find out more about Fishing into the Future they can be contacted on the phone, via email or on social media.
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