Exclusive: Agency appointed to support fishing industry's post-Brexit political and media engagement

Public affairs agency Connect has been jointly appointed by the National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations and the Scottish Fishermen's Federation to support a campaign for a "better deal for fishermen" as the UK leaves the Common Fisheries Policy, post-Brexit.

Connect will work on behalf of the UK fishing industry to lobby the Government to realise the benefits of Brexit (pic credit: Edward Parker/Alamy)
Connect will work on behalf of the UK fishing industry to lobby the Government to realise the benefits of Brexit (pic credit: Edward Parker/Alamy)

A good deal is high on the political agenda following the UK's formal exit from the EU on Friday and the Government will be under pressure from the industry to secure its fishing rights within coastal waters.

The UK's seafood sector employs about 33,000 people and contributes £1.5bn to the UK economy.

Elspeth Macdonald, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen's Federation, and Barrie Deas, chief executive of the National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations, told PRWeek they are working together, with the support of Connect, to campaign for the UK to "secure maximum benefit" from its new status as an independent coastal state.

Macdonald and Deas said it was time for the Government to realise the potential of Brexit for the fishing industry.

They said: "We believe that Brexit presents a sea of opportunity for the UK's fishing industry. As an independent coastal state we can break free of the current unfair arrangements that see EU27 vessels catch more than 60 per cent of the fish that are caught in UK waters."

They added: "With control of access to UK waters we can ensure UK fishermen get a fair deal on quotas, revive coastal communities across the country and grow our industry's role as a world leader in sustainable fisheries management."

As part of its work for the industry, Connect supported a major lobby of Parliament by fishing-industry representatives last week to coincide with the introduction of the new Fisheries Bill, just days before the UK officially left the EU.

The agency will work with the Government, Parliament and the media to maximise the benefits of the Bill, including determining who can catch what, when and where in UK waters, and ensuring that more fishing opportunities are secured to benefit the industry.

It will also highlight the potential of the UK to be a world leader in sustainable fisheries management.

Andy Sawford, managing partner of Connect, is leading the account. He said: "We have got to know the fishing industry well in recent years and are pleased to be supporting the SFF and NFFO at this crucial time to help secure a sustainable and prosperous future for fishing, with a fair deal on quota shares through annual fisheries agreement and controlled access by non-UK vessels to fish in UK waters." 

Connect's other clients include the Worshipful Company of Fishmongers, Google and the union Unison.

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