Simpson raises recruitment fears at annual fisheries debate

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The annual UK Fisheries debate has taken place in Westminster, with MPs from across the United Kingdom addressing the continuing barriers of growth to the industry.

EFRA Committee Member David Simpson MP stated during the debate how the current recruitment concerns are stifling growth in the industry and have 
the potential of negatively effecting the local economy.

During the debate Mr Simpson stated how the industry is facing a major difficulty in recruiting local staff or workers for the boats.

Following the debate Mr Simpson has since met with Mr James Brokenshire MP, Minister of State for the Home Office, to directly raise recommendations from the industry on 
how to recruit non-EEA members on a short-term basis.

Speaking on the subject, Mr Simpson said: “Despite the challenges facing the industry, it is an encouragement to see the vibrant vision that those working within the industry have.

“Northern Ireland is exporting our prized seafood right across the globe and it is vital that we tackle the challenges that arise.

“Unfortunately, at present we do not have enough young qualified people willing to take on a career as a fisherman; but with a strategic and coherent plan this can change.

“I will work closely with representatives of the industry to construct a strategic plan to make a career within the industry more appealing to our younger generation.

“Until such a time as this, non-EEA crew are required to take on the day to day tasks and it is vital that the UK Home Office recognise this need.

“I look forward to a day when the Northern Ireland fishing industry is at the heart of our government’s priority and that the local employment of young qualified personnel can be driven.”