APPG ON FISHERIES: ONE YEAR WITH MWC AT THE HELM
February 7th, 2020
Just over a year ago, we took the reins for the All Party Parliamentary Group on Fisheries under the guise of Secretariat. Fuelled by the support of The Fishmongers’ Company, we were tasked with making the Group as accessible and visible as possible to all involved in the fisheries sector.
This was a unique chance to connect the sector with the key decision-makers in Westminster. We aimed to build the Group into a unique forum for bringing together interested people – from across industry, policy, academia and conservation – to constructively discuss specific issues that the sector faces. Our expertise in audience engagement and our extensive sector contacts meant we were ideally suited for the task at hand.
MAKING FISHERIES VISIBLE
First on the list was building an eye-catching and accessible website. Rocking the renowned Parliamentary Green colour scheme, the site was launched in February 2019. Initially focused on the APPG’s past and future activities, it has since grown into a go-to destination for clear explanations of fisheries-related issues. We break down complicated policy matters such as the Fisheries Bill, the Landing Obligation, and quota allocation into straightforward articles.
We also make sure to communicate in other ways. Our Twitter channel continues to steadily grow in popularity, and our fortnightly newsletter brings together the latest sector headlines, as well as reporting on fisheries-related debates taking place in Parliament. We also produce policy briefs, in the form of digests on fisheries issues, useful for Parliamentarians and those working in the sector alike.
CONNECTING PARLIAMENTARIANS TO THE SECTOR
By spring, we’d begun developing a series of events in Parliament, which have perhaps been the most influential facet of the APPG yet. In 2019 we ran three free public meetings, covering recruitment into fishing, careers on land and at sea, and seafood marketing and certification. All were very popular and received large, diverse audiences, who eagerly participated in vibrant discussions on the challenges – and potential solutions – facing the UK seafood sector. Events took place at 1 Parliament Street, just over the road from the Palace of Westminster. To ensure a representative audience could attend, we took steps to cover travel expenses for those who needed it.
We have plenty more events planned for this year. First up is Social and Economic Sustainability on 25 February, and we aim to hold events covering climate change, mental health and a celebration of UK seafood in the coming months. The popularity of our events is ever-growing, and our February event has already provoked strong interest. We are looking into finding a larger venue – get in touch if you’re interested in attending.
ENGAGEMENT AND NETWORK BUILDING
Engaging with Parliamentarians is a key part of our work. We work with a number of Parliamentary Members from across the political spectrum. The Group recently held its AGM, which was attended by Parliamentarians old and new, with many interested in becoming part of the Group. We’re looking forward to welcoming plenty of new faces at the end of February.
The APPG is, by its nature, Westminster-focused, but has also taken us across London. We have represented the Group at events at Fishmongers’ Hall and at conferences like Coastal Futures 2020. We have been privy to fascinating discussions between UK Parliamentarians and their Norwegian counterparts. We meet MPs and Peers directly, and talk about what they hope to see from the Group and explore new directions of travel.
As the APPG continues to grow, we’re looking to engage with a wider and wider audience. If you would like the opportunity to discuss fisheries-related issues with Parliamentarians at our events, do get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to seeing you there!