Coastal communities throughout the UK are, as a group, struggling more than others over a number of social and economic issues from unemployment and educational underachievement to lower health and wellbeing. This is despite the fact that they are located close to unique natural resources, which offers many opportunities to support good jobs and meet local needs.
In the case of Poole, Dorset, the three primary direct marine sectors (commercial fishing, aquaculture and charter boat trips) play a significant local economic, social and environmental role but as much of their activity takes place at sea it is often invisible.
Research from NEF Consulting and the New Economics Foundation demonstrates that aquaculture (the farming of oysters, mussels and clams), small scale fishing and the recreational charter boat industry generate over £12.5 million in Gross Value Added (GVA), making them a crucial contributor to Poole’s local economy.
The report outlines opportunities for:
- The small scale fishing fleet by improving the local supply chain through markets on Poole Quay; local authorities signing up to be Sustainable Fish Cities; and by publicising the success of the recent Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) accreditation for Poole Harbour’s clam and cockle fishery all of which will generate more revenues from the same level of fishing. Uncertainty around the consequences of leaving the European Union, and the outcomes of the ongoing Brexit negotiations, continues to hamper effective planning for the future although by reallocating some quota to the small scale fleet the UK Government could take action now.
- The charter boat fleet needs support from the council and tourist board to develop a charter angling strategy and a best-practice code of conduct, involving local operators and regulators.
- The aquaculture industry and shellfish fishery in the harbour are supported by the Poole Harbour Fishery Order (2015) which enables re-laying to of shellfish to match supply to demand, ensuring seasonal stability and access to markets throughout the year, as well as providing an opportunity to improve price, while increasing the spawning stock within the harbour. In this manner, it becomes possible to increase fishery production, within sustainable limits.