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A new supply chain led initiative, focused on driving improvements to the management of the North East Atlantic fisheries for mackerel, herring and blue whiting has been established.

The formal creation of the group is the latest step in a project which began in 2019 in response to the suspension of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) North East Atlantic mackerel fishery certification.

Managing these fisheries is complicated because it involves six coastal states and there are ongoing disputes regarding quota allocation.

The North Atlantic Pelagic Advocacy (NAPA) Group was formed by retailers and processors from across the UK to consider how the supply chain could drive improvements in the management of these fisheries. NAPA is seeking to achieve a formal agreement on catch limits for North East Atlantic Pelagic fisheries that reflects the scientific advice.

Since its formal creation in early 2020 membership has expanded to include European retailers and processors. The group has already made considerable progress since its first meeting. In late March members held a workshop to develop an action plan to drive the work of the group over the next 12 to 36 months. A priority action is the creation of a Fisheries Improvement Project and a comprehensive engagement strategy with key decision-makers for herring and blue whiting.

Ally Dingwall, Sainsbury’s said: “Some progress has been made but there is no escaping that delivering long-term sustainable management of these fisheries presents a challenge. Coastal state governance issues mean that it has not been possible to agree a mechanism which establishes total allowable catches aligned to scientific advice for these fisheries. In the absence of any quick win solutions it is vital that the supply chain works together to drive improvements and influence change.”

Cameron Moffat, Young’s Seafood said: “The formal establishment of the North Atlantic Pelagic Advocacy Group represents a key milestone in addressing long standing issues in how these important fisheries are managed. It provides an opportunity for retailers and processors to work collaboratively to drive change”.

Melissa Tillotson, Waitrose said: “By also focusing on blue whiting, NAPA is committed to driving improvements in this fishery which is such a vital component of the farmed salmon supply chain. It is important for Waitrose that it secures ‘end to end’ supply chain assurance across its seafood portfolio and our participation in NAPA is a means to achieve this.

Helena Delgado Nordman, Tesco said: “The recently agreed Action Plan sets out an ambitious programme to help NAPA achieve its aims of securing an agreement on total allowable catches and for a long-term science-based management agreement. While members recognise there are no easy wins, there does need to be evidence of meaningful change to comply with the Sustainable Seafood Coalition Code of Conduct and ensure the long-term sustainability of the stock.”

Krishan Kent, Sweden Seafood Association said: “Although NAPA originated in the UK, the problems that it is seeking to address clearly affect the wider European supply chain. NAPA provides an opportunity for businesses from across Europe, whether they are a herring processor, a salmon feed manufacturer or a retailer, to work collectively to initiate change.”

Aoife Martin, Independent Chair of NAPA said: “There has been a great deal of work over the past six months to establish NAPA and to develop and agree the group’s Action Plan. We are now ready to promote the group to potential members across Europe and I would encourage interested parties to get in touch to discuss how they might get involved.”


Dr Annika Clements, Seafish Regional Manager in Northern Ireland, talks about an upcoming project which aims to drive recycling efforts in the area how over the past year work has been underway to develop a project to reduce marine litter at Northern Ireland’s largest fishing ports.

The Marine Litter Management project was born from a meeting of the Northern Ireland Fishermen’s Safety Forum. At a meeting last year members agreed that action was needed to address litter in the ports. Northern Ireland Fishery Harbour Authority (NIFHA) is the lead applicant in an EMFF funding bid for the project via the South East Area Fisheries Local Action Group (SEA FLAG). The Northern Ireland Fish Producers Organisation and Seafish have committed match funding to the project, which is also supported by Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful.

Through the project, NIFHA will bring in a new temporary project officer. Over the next two years this post will act as a central point of contact for efforts to tackle marine litter at three County Down fishing harbours – Portavogie, Ardglass and Kilkeel.


The role will cover a number of aspects in a bid to tackle marine litter around the ports. Some of their work will focus on clean-up efforts including co-ordinating local beach cleans. Another key part of the job will be proactively working with local fishing and seafood businesses. This will involve promoting and monitoring the Fishing for Litter scheme and creating simple messaging to help those using the harbours to understand best practice in waste management.

The project officer will also be tasked with developing a plan to help the harbours deal with end-of-life fishing gear. To do this they will look at what can be learned from projects in other areas and carry out an economic viability assessment on some of the different options.

A key element of the project will be to investigate and develop ways of increasing the recycling rates of waste generated by the fishing fleet. The project officer will consider how much harbour waste can be recycled and what infrastructure is needed for this.

This project offers a fantastic opportunity for the local seafood industry to engage with the harbour authority in a co-ordinated effort to tackle marine litter. It is hoped that the new role will be advertised later in the summer. NIFHA will be sharing more information about the post and the project in due course.

I’d encourage anyone interested in the project to look out for updates from them but you can also get in touch with me with any queries in the meantime and I’ll pass them on.