Melanie Onn – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Melanie Onn on 2016-02-22.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to encourage young people to take up a career in the fishing industry.

George Eustice

Such matters fall primarily to the Non-Departmental Public Body Seafish, which is funded by an industry levy. Seafish launched a three-week ‘Introduction to Commercial Fishing’ course in September 2011 to help recruit and train new entrants to the fishing industry. Drawing on funding from the European Fisheries Fund (EFF), Seafish has delivered 84 courses throughout the UK and trained 741 new entrants.

Seafish has also developed a one-year (minimum) ‘Apprenticeship in Sea Fishing’ programme to attract new entrants looking for a career in commercial fishing. It has been delivered in England by the Whitby & District Fishing Industry School, and is now being offered as a Modern Apprenticeship in Scotland by the NAFC Marine Centre in Shetland and the North East Scotland College in Peterhead. Between 1 January 2013 and 31 December 2015 51 apprentices registered for, and 44 completed, the programme. Moreover, Seafish has developed ‘Fish and Shellfish Apprenticeships’ to help the onshore sectors of the seafood industry recruit new high-calibre entrants.

In addition, Seafish created ‘The World is Your Oyster’, a recruitment campaign designed to showcase the diverse employment opportunities and career prospects in the seafood and fishing industries. The campaign launched in November last year, and is targeted at school leavers, youngsters and those considering a career change. Further information can be found on the Seafish website.

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) has provided financial support via the EFF to Fisheries Local Action Groups for schemes which include apprenticeships and training for the fishing industry. Funds paid for such schemes under EFF with MMO matched funding are in the region of £208,829. Support for training programmes and apprenticeships will continue to be available under the European Maritime Fisheries Fund, replacing the EFF, which opened on 18 January.