The industry-led charity Fishing into the Future (FITF) has launched a new round of its Fisheries Education Research Education Programme (F-REP) residential events.
The three-day residential workshops take place at locations around the country and aim to provide the ‘opportunity for people from fishing, science and policy-making to learn from each other’s expertise and work together effectively ahead of the implementation of Fisheries Management Plans (FMPs)’.
FITF executive director Emma Plotnek said: “The success of co-management depends on having the right conditions for everyone to work together.
“Through the programme, fishermen gain an understanding of the limits and structure of the management system and the science that underpins it. Equally important, policy-makers understand the reality of working in the fishing industry, so policy reflects the real-life social and financial situations of members of the industry.
“On a human level, people build connections and trust, coming away being able to pick up the phone and have an honest conversation and really listen and understand one another.”
While each event is regional and will focus on local fish and shellfish species and the FMPs related to the area, Emma Plotnek said they are ‘not another platform for dissecting and developing policy’. “Rather, it’s an opportunity to build the skills, knowledge and connections that enable everyone to confidently contribute to the working groups for FMPs or Regional Fisheries Groups.
“Fishing is not just about catching fish – it involves so much more. It requires staying informed about policy and research, knowing the right places to influence and participate in fisheries management and getting involved in data collection.
“This requires an understanding of fisheries management and science – which from afar can seem complex. This is why we provide a space to discuss and ask questions in a language understood by all.”
Emma Plotnek said the events will ‘not be your average workshops’. “They are tailored to learning and connecting. We co-design the events with the people involved; we have a planning team for each one comprised of members from the local industry. We eat, learn and socialise throughout the time we are together to build an honest and meaningful experience.”
Two F-REP events have already been planned, with more to come. The first is from 6-9 November at Chilworth Manor, just outside Southampton, focused on the Non-Quota Species FMP. The second is in Yorkshire from 26-29 February, 2024, focused on the shellfish FMPs. The venue for this event has yet to be confirmed.
FITF said the events will feature sessions on fisheries management, science, data collection, economics and social science – with ‘an opportunity to quiz experts and have a conversation without the technical jargon’.
There will also be a chance to develop confidence and communication skills, while fishermen will be encouraged to swap stories and tips for running an effective fishing business. With FITF eager not to have a rigid lecture-style set-up, the sessions will be interactive, with a strong emphasis on learning by doing.
“Fishing into the Future is built and guided by fishermen. This means we use fishermen as facilitators, strive to develop interesting sessions with active learning that resonates with everyone involved, and put a big focus on relationship building,” said Emma Plotnek.
“The magic happens when people sit next to each other and eat a meal, get chatting, find common ground and see each other not just as another fisherman on the quayside or another civil servant in an office – but a human with a life and a job driven by the same passion for fisheries.”
The charity has sought industry guidance on when best to schedule the events to minimise disruption. However, recognising that the events will still involve fishermen taking time away from their vessels, FITF has ‘committed to covering all travel expenses and have set some funding aside to remunerate fishermen for their involvement’.
Applications to participate in both F-REP events are currently open. To sign up for either event, click here.
For more information, contact Emma Plotnek at: email@example.com
This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.30 here.
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