There may be some surprise that the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations has its home in Monkgate, York, 40 miles from the sea. In fact, it moved here in 2007 from Grimsby to benefit from better transport links and the attraction of the city to delegates. It is now the home of anger with the government over the fishing arrangements in the Brexit agreement. The NFFO had been dissatisfied with the fishing agreement within the EU and hoped Brexit would put an end to this. It has not, but more particularly the NFFO criticises Boris Johnson for presenting the Brexit agreement as a success for the fishing industry despite the NFFO viewing it as a failure. On 15th January, they wrote to the Prime Minister:
“In our hearts, many of us in the fishing industry feared that when the fate of hundreds of thousands of … businesses and livelihoods across the UK hung in the balance with fishing rights, you would be obliged to sacrifice the fishing industry. Everything, however, that you, and others at the very top of government told us … led us to believe that your stance on fishing was not just rhetoric or expedience, but was based around a principle – that a sovereign country should be able to control who fishes in its own waters and should be able to harvest the fish resources in its own waters primarily for its own people. That proved not to be the case. It is not that, in the end, you were forced to concede … that has caused such fury across our industry, it is that you have tried to present the Christmas Eve Agreement as a major success when it is patently clear that it is not.”
(Excerpt from NFFO website)
In another website posting of 7th January, the NFFO reports on the obstacles facing fishermen in exporting their catches to mainland Europe. A quicker customs arrangement, they say, is vital.
“Despite the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the UK and the EU…, there is mounting concern over the export of fish to Europe, centring on obstacles in Calais and Boulogne. The first consignments of the year from Cornwall hit a brick wall of bureaucracy, and similar problems are being faced in relation to prawns exported from North Shields and with direct landings into Holland. At the time of writing one consignment of fish had been delayed 48 hours with attendant loss of quality. There were fears that the customer would reject the whole consignment on arrival.”
The NFFO office in York faces a challenging 2021.