We’re deep into November, and the tumultuous, exhausting year of 2020 is coming to an end. And who could be better placed to give an end of 2020 check-in, than Tom McCormack, CEO of the MMO. Tom joins us on the podcast with his top team Phil Haslam, Operations Director, and Michelle Willis, Finance Director, to outline a number of critical updates from the MMO that will help the industry navigate the UK’s fast-approaching transition to an independent coastal state.
It’s easy to get lost in all the Brexit jargon and overwhelmed by the plethora of changes happening this year. But as Tom says, ‘we want to focus first on what we know... the EU transition period is definitely ending on the 31st of December.’ He continues, ‘whether there’s a trade agreement or not, things will change. We need to be ready to fish in our own waters and in EU waters’.
Phil then gives an overview of how exporting and importing will change on January 1st. Exported fish will need catch certificates, as proof of legal and sustainable sourcing - to facilitate this process, the MMO are piloting an online platform on which fishermen can apply for catch certificates, and access useful services (including a 24/7 helpline) to support their applications. This week represents an iterative ‘warm up period’, allowing the industry to trial this Fish Export Service and give their feedback. We also hear about licencing, control and enforcement.
The MMO have been a vast source of support for fishermen throughout recent months, running ‘MMO outdoors’ for face-to-face support as the pandemic has unfolded. Michelle confirms that as of December 29th, support will be 24/7. Also to note is the repurposing of £800,000 of
Maritime and Fisheries Fund (MFF) funding - which so far has been invested in winches, refrigeration, and health and safety projects, and to which new applications are encouraged.
There are a number of key things that fishermen should do now to prepare:
These dark winter months are the perfect time to ready yourself for the incoming changes - as usual, Fathom is here to help you, with an easily-digestible, conversational breakdown from the experts.
Tom McCormack, MMO
Phil Haslam, MMO
Michelle Willis, MMO