Fishermen’s Welfare Alliance

Solving a skills gap in the short and long term to secure the longevity of the UK fishing industry

Background

Building on a relationship Whitehouse had with the Apostleship of the Sea, we were asked to support the political communications of the newly formed Fishermen’s Welfare Alliance. The Alliance was formed, led by the fishing industry, with the aim to improve policy around the welfare of fishermen and the health of the industry in the UK and beyond. This involved campaigning on a range of issues, including calling for support to address the sector’s skills shortage. We made the case for a sectoral visa for the fishing industry to plug this gap in the short-term, with a plan to improve education and the reputation of the industry in the long term.

Our strategy

With an accessible and informative briefing, we reached out to our most important stakeholders, which spanned the Home Office, Defra, the Cabinet Office, relevant parliamentarians and industry. We took our policy asks to 10 Downing Street to gain the support of the Prime Minister’s Defra Adviser and secured support from relevant parliamentarians ranging from MPs representing fishing constituencies to Home Affairs Select Committee members. This helped us to further hone our message and expand its reach and legitimacy to politicians and policymakers, in an environment that was hostile to pro-immigration asks.

Once we had secured high-level and wide-ranging support, we organised a technical roundtable discussion with a view to directly lobbying those developing the UK’s future immigration policy and secured the attendance of the Chair of the Government’s Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), alongside our parliamentary advocates, technical experts, Defra fishing specialists, and thought leaders in the space. We prepared policy papers presenting possible solutions and ensured our attendees were equipped to present our message. Through this engagement, we advanced our campaign and could nuance our messaging to better meet the MAC’s objectives and advance our campaign.

The Fishermen’s Welfare Alliance (FWA) is the first organisation in the UK to represent the whole wild fish supply chain. We are committed to working for the health, happiness and security of UK fishermen and bringing about responsibly managed improvements to the entire industry. We also aim to ensure that the human and labour rights of crews are fully protected and a long-term plan on labour and access to the UK fleet is developed.

Whitehouse Consulting was instrumental in gaining access for the Alliance to key politicians and influences in Westminster and Downing Street, allowing us to present the unique challenges faced by the industry, specifically in recruiting crew from home and overseas.  Whitehouse quickly understood our issues, providing efficient, professional and friendly advice and support.  Whitehouse have been instrumental is promoting a greater understanding of our issues with key decision makers.