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By Cheryl Roberts (FIFCA)

As we near the end of the year its a great chance for us to look both backwards and forwards. And looking over the past 12 months, there have been a lot of positive developments. At an industry level we have made some good progress in a number of areas over the past year, with the 1st of August seeing FIFCA adopt an environmental policy which even further reinforces our commitment to a sustainable fishery and care for the environment.

However, it is with sadness that yet again have to note that the cause of sustainable fishing has been undermined for political reasons by the Argentine Government. We will continue to try and work at an industry level to overcome this as best we can but our frustration grows year on year. On a more positive note I would like to publically welcome Phyl Rendell and Ian Hansen, although Ian unfortunately couldnt be with us tonight as the MLAs with responsibility for Chair of the Fisheries Committee. We look forward to working with them both as we do with all the MLAs to ensure the fishing sector remains a legal sector of our economy.

During the year Michael Poole was fortunate enough to attend a fisheries conference in Rhode Island along with Dr Andreas Winter from the Fisheries Department. This trip not only served to underline the strength of the partnership approach between the industry and the Fisheries Department but also served to reinforce just how well and sustainably managed our fishery is.

We continue to set a world-class standard in a number of respects and I look forward to FIFCA continuing this in 2014 and beyond.

Sadly for us all  though obviously to the benefit of the wider community  Michael decided to stand as an MLA. As we all know he was fortuitously successful and obtained the most votes ever known. Our huge congratulations go out to him for that achievement.

(A round of applause was given.)

He leaves us at the end of January. His replacement has big footsteps to follow and we will commence interviewing shortly and have received a number of applications, one of which will no doubt come up to the high standard we have come to expect.

During next year we hope to continue working with Government on looking at a reasonable level of licence fees over the longer term and work to ensure that the development of the oil industry is not at the expense of our own.

In addition FIFCA will be represented at the Brussels Seafood Expo in April when we continue to promote our industry and our products on an international and regular basis.

So I will wrap up my thanks to Seaview Logistics Limited, Bold Ventures Fishing Company and Sulivan Shipping Services Ltd for kindly providing some of the fish that we are enjoying this evening.

And I wish you and all of your families a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year from us at FIFCA.

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