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'We hope it will pave the way to reinvigorating our industry:' Funding boost for fishing industry

PUBLISHED: 14:45 22 December 2018

Fisheries minister George Eustice attends a conference on relaunching the fishing industry in Lowestoft earlier this year, with June Mummery and Paul Lines among the guest speakers.  Picture: Nick Butcher

Fisheries minister George Eustice attends a conference on relaunching the fishing industry in Lowestoft earlier this year, with June Mummery and Paul Lines among the guest speakers. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2018

More than £130,000 in funding has been secured as part of an "innovative project" to boost the East Anglian fishing industry.

Waveney MP Peter Aldous at the stop electric fishing in Europe protest at Lowestoft fish market earlier this year. Picture: Mick HowesWaveney MP Peter Aldous at the stop electric fishing in Europe protest at Lowestoft fish market earlier this year. Picture: Mick Howes

The Renaissance of East Anglian Fisheries (REAF) group – which was established following the Brexit referendum to investigate the potential impacts and growth of the fishing industry in the region – has been encouraged by the funding announcement.

The REAF group – a partnership of dedicated individuals within the fishing industry and community leaders – has secured the six-figure sum that will identify and explore opportunities for the fishing industry.

With £97,863.75 awarded from the Marine Management Organisation to carry out the project, match funding from groups include Seafish, East Suffolk Councils, Norfolk County Council and Suffolk County Council takes the overall total to £130,485.

Paul Lines and June Mummery at the stop electric fishing in Europe protest at Lowestoft fish market earlier this year. Picture: Mick HowesPaul Lines and June Mummery at the stop electric fishing in Europe protest at Lowestoft fish market earlier this year. Picture: Mick Howes

The project aims to review the current state of the fishing industry across East Anglia; identify the opportunities that the decision to leave the EU could offer and identify the investment/actions required to maximise any opportunities, and prepare a strategy for implementation.

With a consultant having now been appointed, work will begin next month (January).

REAF – who want coastal communities in East Anglia and Essex to reap the benefits of responsible stewardship of the fisheries in UK waters – were pleased with the latest developments.

June Mummery, managing director of BFP Eastern, and fisherman, Paul Lines – both part of the Lowestoft Fish Market Alliance – said: “This is wonderful news for the industry and all our partners.

“We hope it will pave the way to reinvigorating our industry for years to come.

“We only hope that the government takes note of the findings and supports this innovative project for the regeneration of our coastal communities. This would not have been possible without the full support of Seafish.”

Waveney MP Peter Aldous said: “It’s great news that funding has been secured for this innovative and locally led study of the East Anglian fishing industry.

“It will enable us to produce a plan for making the most of the opportunity that Brexit presents to revitalise the industry in Lowestoft and other ports along the East Anglian coast.

“It will establish the current state of the industry, will seek to quantify the ‘Brexit Dividend’ and will identify what investment is needed in infrastructure, equipment and skills in order to bring the maximum benefit to our area.”

Aoife Martin, operations director at Seafish, added: “Seafish is pleased to be able to support this important project to explore the future strategic opportunities for the East Anglian seafood industry.

“This study will be vital in establishing a strategic plan that can help the seafood sector in the region to innovate and thrive.

“The economic potential for coastal communities in the area could be significant and this project will ensure that the seafood industry in East Anglia is primed to take full advantage of these opportunities.”

The aim at the conclusion of the project will be to have in place:

■ A full understanding of the commercial fishing and aquaculture industries in the region, and the current and prospective state of the fish stocks in the southern North Sea.

■ A strategy linking all the different elements of the industry including the future catch potential, quota distribution, the fleet size and composition, the service needs in ports, harbours and other landing places, other support services and transportation, storage and processing, trading and markets, skill needs, training and recruitment and securing effective management in line with science.

■ A clear action plan for a profitable regional fishing industry firmly enveloped within sustainable fisheries policies.

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