Fish & Fisheries News

Wednesday May 31, 2023

Fathom Podcast Features the USA Co-Management Exchange

Civil servants and industry members who recently participated in an exchange trip to the Gulf of Maine, funded through the Company’s Fisheries Charitable Trust, have reconvened to discuss their learnings on the industry-focused podcast, Fathom. The episode picked up on the development of the new Fisheries Management Plans (FMPs), with the guests reflecting on what they learnt about the U.S. co-management systems.

The podcast was hosted by the Cornish Fish Producers’ Organisations (CFPO), CEO Chris Ranford and guest co-host David Stevens, skipper of the Crystal Sea and Chairperson of Fishing into the Future. They were joined by Hannah Fennell, Head of the Orkney Fisheries Association; Fiona Taylor, Head of Sea Fisheries, Policy and Grants at DAERA; and Robbie Fisher, Head of Domestic Fisheries Sustainability and Devolution. The podcast can be listened to here.

The delegates in Gloucester, Massachusetts

The United States has a well-established co-management model, whereby industry, government and scientists collaboratively develop fisheries management and research. Last year, the Fisheries Charitable Trust funded the exchange trip, so that fishers and managers from across the U.K could learn more about how the industry, managers, and scientists work together to collect data and make collaborative management decisions. This exchange was timely, as following the UK’s departure from EU’s Common Fisheries Policy, the UK have decided to change what’s seen by some as a top-down system in the E.U., in favour of a more collaborative approach. As part of this new approach, Defra, in partnership with industry members and scientists are developing 43 FMPs for our most important non-quota commercial fish and shellfish stocks.

In the episode, the group discussed the largest overhaul of fisheries management in the UK in decades, and explored the values and principles that underpin the U.S. system and the investment and education that goes into making co-management work. They considered how possible it would be to translate this approach to the U.K.’s new framework, taking into account the differences between the U.K’s four nations. Robbie and Fiona also give us an update on the development of FMPs, with Hannah and David providing an industry perspective on what they would like to see from the co-management approach included. 

The episode was a really useful insight into how the future of fisheries management may look, with the exchange trip and the innovative, cutting-edge ideas that came out of it likely to play an influence in establishing the U.K’s new framework.

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