The Coastal Producer Organisation (Fishing News, 1 June, The Coastal PO) has been officially recognised by the MMO as a fishery producer organisation, reports John Worrall.

Above: Coastal PO CEO Jim Pettipher.

Its application was deemed to satisfy the CMO regulatory requirements, and discussions will now take place between the new PO and the MMO on operational matters.

Formal approval of the Costal PO has the potential to change the regulatory landscape for the inshore fleet, which hitherto has had very little political influence and been subjected to rising constrictions on fishing opportunity.

Jim Pettipher, CEO of the Coastal PO, said: “I’m absolutely delighted that four years’ work in the UK, involving at some stage everyone from Home Secretary Amber Rudd, Fisheries Ministers George Eustice and Richard Benyon, as well as a huge number of entirely voluntary hours from the fishermen board members of both NUTFA and the Coastal PO, the teams at DEFRA Fisheries and the MMO, has finally secured recognised status for the Coastal PO.

“Thank you to every fisherman who came to our meetings. Nearly all of you joined and look what your support and initial momentum has now achieved. Clearly, we could not have done it without you, as the agreed membership threshold was 200 and the Coastal PO already has 250 members and counting.

“At a stroke, this decision gives the UK’s 4,253 registered under-10s, plus the non-sector over-10s, a formal seat at the UK fishing policy table. As well as the number of under-10s identified as in membership of a UK PO jumping from 56 (DEFRA list, June 2017) to over 300.

“This government has proved that it wants to hear from, and listen to, the little guy.

“We look forward to working with the UK government to shape its action plan for the development and competitiveness of the small-scale, coastal fishing fleet.

“If you are a small-scale fisherman and you want to be heard, then get involved – get access to PO benefits and help us fight for a fair share of fishing opportunities, by joining up using the form on
“If nothing else, your £150 a year will get you the right to retrospectively lease via the PO on the current MMO’s licence for under-10s in a PO.”

See John Worrall’s story on The Coastal PO here.