Business

Northern Ireland fishing fleet urged to take part in industry survey

Vessel owners and skippers in Northern Ireland are being asked for their views on the state of the fishing industry in the 13th annual economic survey of the UK fishing fleet carried out by Seafish

SEAFISH researchers are visiting fishing ports between Ballycastle and Kilkeel this week to urge vessel owners and skippers in Northern Ireland to have their say on the state of the fishing industry in its 13th annual economic survey of the UK fishing fleet.

This year's survey is travelling across the UK gathering data on fishing and vessel costs to provide a comprehensive overview of the financial and operational performance of the fishing industry.

With the UK preparing to exit the European Union, it is vital fishers provide accurate data to paint a clear picture of the performance of the industry for policy makers.

Last year brought mixed fortunes for the fishing fleet, with operating profit seeing a 4 per cent decrease, but total fishing income rising by £38 million to reach £984 million.

Many skippers raised the uncertain political and trade landscape, the availability of fish, oil and fuel price and quota as some of their main concerns. The latest survey is a chance for the industry to give up to date information on their successes and upcoming challenges, helping their voices be heard.

This year will also include a social demographic section, asking fishers about their age, qualifications and working arrangements, providing more insight in to the individuals in the catching sector.

Steve Lawrence, economics project manager at Seafish (www.seafish.org), said: “We have to find out from those on the front line of the fishing industry how their economic performance has been over the past 12 months.

"This insight means we can keep all those in the sector fully informed on the health of the fleet. For us to be able to keep policy makers informed with our reports we need as many skippers and vessel owners as possible to be involved and have their say.

“This year we are also collecting data social data about the crews working on board UK fishing vessels. Collecting this social data helps us to build up a much more detailed picture of the UK fishing industry. This rich information is vital to ensure decision makers understand how communities and livelihoods are affected by changing management measures, particularly now as we head towards EU exit and a new fisheries policy.

“We appreciate the continued support of the fishing industry in Northern Ireland and encourage all skippers and vessel owners in the area to speak to our researchers in confidence.”

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