Future Funding For Scilly’s IFCA Discussed By Fisheries Minister

Fisheries Minister George Eustice

Fisheries Minister George Eustice

The government Minister in charge of Fisheries has praised Scilly’s Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority and says he’ll push for continued funding for the IFCA beyond 2016.

George Eustice made his comments during a visit to Scilly yesterday, following a choppy crossing on the Cornish fisheries patrol vessel the St Piran.

He met Council and IFCA representatives, and was taken on a glass-bottomed boat tour of the islands’ newly designated Marine Conservation Zone.

Mr Eustice said Scilly’s MCZ was a great model of how the fishing industry and local environmental groups could work together.

And while much of that is based on voluntary agreements, he said that’s preferable if it actually works.

The Minister also discussed the future of our local IFCA, the smallest in the country.

He said it was clear that the annual £100,000 New Burdens Funding, provided through Defra, was essential for its ongoing operations because the Council would not be able to find that cash from elsewhere.

The money is secure until 2016 and Mr Eustice said he would be discussing funding beyond that with his colleagues soon.

He also confirmed there was no talk of merging Scilly’s IFCA with Cornwall, adding that the Government genuinely wants them to be as local as possible.

Bryher resident Mac Mace wanted us to ask the Minister why so many French vessels were fishing around Cornwall on the day of his visit.

Mr Eustice said there’s an ongoing issue with the French fishing for sea bass 6 to 12 miles off the shore. It has been brought up in Europe, he says, but it’s a complicated situation because UK vessels have reciprocal agreements to fish in French waters, which predate the EU.