Following its relaunch event, the industry-led charity Fishing into the Future (FITF) has published an event summary that encourages a commitment to the language of co-management in future fishing policy.
The Cast Your Voice – The Future of Fisheries Management event on 1st April 2021 focused on creating a dialogue around fishing, science and policy, and was well attended by the UK the fishing sector. It provided an opportunity for people working in fisheries to explore the concept of co-management, share their experiences and diverse approaches to management and science, and discuss their ideas for the future of UK fisheries management.
The highlight of the event came from within thought-provoking group discussions, led by FITF fishing industry trustees David Stevens, Adrian Bartlett, Peter Bruce, and Jimmy Buchan. Conversations emphasised the importance of true collaboration between industry members in policy and science, and ensuring well-structured and transparent management processes while trialling new approaches of working together.
During the discussions there was a desire to move towards long-term commitments, with ideas put forward on what this might look like, how they could be funded, and how existing initiatives could be brought together effectively, with an appetite to see these approaches incorporated into policy.
‘We already know of so many forward-thinking initiatives that have the attributes of effective co-management and industry-led data collection – however, we must also remember we are still figuring out what co-management and collaborative science will look like in the UK,’ said FITF Programme Manager Emma Plotnek.
‘Looking to the future, we hope to see people from the industry engaged in the development of policies that tie these efforts all together.’
The event brought together a number of multi-disciplinary contributors, including Alexa Dayton, scientist at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, who explained the US approach to fisheries management, Gus Caslake, independent chair of the Cornish Sardine Management Association, who spoke of collaboration and data collection within the organisation, Alan Steer, vice-chair of the South Devon and Channel Fishermen, who gave an insight into the history of the Inshore Potting Agreement in South Devon, and Jim Evans, chair of the Welsh Fishermen’s Association (WFA), who presented on the effective relationship between the WFA and marine scientists to obtain data for better management decisions.
These insights were followed up with some perceptions from within government, with key messages shared by Robbie Fisher of DEFRA and Jim Watson of Marine Scotland.
It was highlighted during the event that the Scottish Fisheries Management Strategy 2020-2030 already uses clear language that is committed to co-management. During the event, Jim Watson of Marine Scotland reaffirmed that a commitment to co-management needs to be built into each part of the management process – established during the initial stages of development right through to delivery.
Drawing on this valuable insight, FITF have drafted a summary of the event, in which one of the take-home messages encourages the adoption of this approach more broadly into policy.
‘A positive reception from government provided us with much reassurance, the next leap forward will be seeing specific wording in policy that commits all of us to these processes,’ said Fishing into the Future chair David Stevens.
‘We need to keep this at the forefront of our agenda as the Joint Fisheries Statement is being written throughout this year and next.’
The short, clearly written event summary is available on the Fishing into the Future website and the event is available to re-watch in full on the FITF Facebook Page.