Mission’s support for UK fishermenThe Fishermen’s Mission has set up a helpline for an industry struggling with the effects of Covid-19

Warning that many fishing businesses are highly vulnerable, having weathered the last few difficult months, the Fishermen’s Mission has established a point of contact for all matters relating to welfare and the wellbeing of both active and retired fishermen and their families.

Supported by the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO) and the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF), the Fishermen’s Mission has set up a freephone number – 0800 6341020. The Mission can also be contacted on 01489 566910 or via its enquiries@fishermensmission.org.uk email address. Alternatively, the Need Help button on the Mission’s website can be used.

“This has been one of the busiest times in history of the work of the Fishermen’s Mission,” commented Fishermen’s Mission Chief Executive David Dickens, adding that the Fishermen’s Mission has worked for many years with the NFFO and SFF.

“It is vital that all fishermen understand that we are here to help with any issues that they may be facing,” he said.

“We have port staff covering the whole of the UK coastline and while currently we may all be working from home – we are still able to provide an extremely effective service.”

According to the Mission, the period of extreme emergency is slowly receding as lockdown measures are relaxed, although there is a risk of a second wave of infections. Markets are tentatively returning but not in all areas, although the warning is that some will take a long time to fully recover.

“The focus is now on how to get through the slow and possibly prolonged recovery period. This at a time when financial resilience for businesses and crew will be low. With no reserves put aside, large parts of the industry are highly vulnerable. The challenges of debt management as Government support schemes end will affect many fishermen and their families,” the Fishermen’s Mission states.

Financial support measures have been on a significant scale, but these have taken a broad brush approach, inevitably leading to some fishermen falling through the gaps.

‘“We know that the Covid-19 virus and subsequent lockdown has stripped resilience out from many parts of our industry. The very least we can do is provide an adequate safety net for those who find themselves in difficulty. Having a single contact point will, we hope ease access to the support systems that are available,” said NFFO chief executive Barrie Deas.

The Fishermen’s Mission initiative aims to identify those at risk from the loss of their business and/or personal difficulties, to analyse the nature of the difficulties they face and to develop and provide adequate solutions, that will help those who are struggling through these unprecedented circumstances.
“It is our hope that the Fishermen’s Mission become the first point of contact for all fishermen when they need this kind of support and that this information is widely available to them,” David Dickens said.

“This has been an extremely difficult time for many in our industry, and indeed continues to be so for some, as the recovery from the Covid lockdowns slowly takes shape,” commented SFF chief executive Elspeth Macdonald.

‘It is important that fishermen can readily access the help and advice that they need over the weeks and months ahead, and this initiative will help to do that.”

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