The National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO) has accused Greenpeace of making “unqualified, assumption-based nonsense” claims that distract from the industry's work on issues affecting the future livelihoods of UK fishers.
Last week, Greenpeace announced that the NFFO was facing pressure to reveal the amount of fishing quota held by its foreign-controlled members, after the green group disclosed more evidence of “large-scale quota exploitation by Spanish-controlled vessels affiliated to a fishing consortium represented by the federation.”
According to Greenpeace, a Spanish-controlled “phantom fishing fleet,” affiliated to the Fleetwood Fish Producer Organisation (FFPO) but not seen by locals for over a decade, has been shipping millions of pounds worth of fish to Spain caught using quota allocated to Lancashire fishers.
"It’s deeply concerning that foreign boats in the crosshairs of a government clampdown on fish quota ‘abuse’ are represented by the industry’s most influential lobby group,” said Ariana Densham, Greenpeace oceans campaigner. “The NFFO has been sticking its head in the sand on the issue of its foreign-dominated fleet, but reality is catching up with their denial.”
Meanwhile, the NFFO said that even in the face of its repeated, public invitations, Greenpeace has rejected its offer to meet and discuss issues or qualify any of its claims.
"Greenpeace are set on creating a sensationalist media storm fuelled by inaccuracies and gross generalisation. This is wasting valuable time and effort better spent dealing with some of the critical issues at hand, including the impact of the common fisheries policy (CFP) reform, under-10s and long term management plans,” Barrie Deas, Chief Executive of the NFFO, said.
He stated that the NFFO has over and over exposed Greenpeace's “generalisations and misrepresentations” on how the industry works -- and that this only undermines the group’s reputation in the sector.
Most recently, Greenpeace made allegations against Anglo-Spanish members of the Fleetwood Fish Producer's Organisation, who it claims are taking quota away from UK vessels. But Greenpeace did not point out that local fishers invited these vessels to join their organisation, and that the UK quota under which they operate is based on historical records generated by the Anglo-Spanish vessels themselves, before the quota went to the UK.
In 2012, the Fleetwood Fish Producer's Organisation contributed GBP 600,000 (EUR 711,000) worth of quota to meet its economic link obligations, which was mainly used to benefit under-10m fisheries. Also, the NFFO noted, the Anglo-Spanish vessels fish different species in different areas and therefore do not compete for quota with local fishers.
Earlier this month, according to the NFFO, Greenpeace was exposed for making false claims around the Federation’s subscription fees being dominated by non-UK vessels. Previously, the NFFO has also condemned Greenpeace's false allegations against membership structure, making clear its membership reflects the diversity of the UK fleet; only 8 per cent of its member vessels are owned outside the UK.
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