Shannon Holds Meeting For More Migrant Fishermen

Jim Shannon holds Fisheries meeting in London.

Jim Shannon holds Fisheries meeting in London.

Strangford DUP MP Jim Shannon was accompanied by his colleague Carla Lockhart MP and Northern Ireland fishing industry representatives Alan McCulla (ANIFPO)and Harry Wick (NIFPO) at a meeting with the UK’s Immigration Minister Kevin Foster at The Home Office in London recently.

The meeting was the latest in a series arranged by Jim Shannon to resolve long-standing issues around the recruitment of skilled migrant fishermen to work on Northern Ireland’s fishing fleet.

At the fisheries’ meeting in London (l-r) were UK Immigration Minister Kevin Foster; Jim Shannon MP; Carla Lockhart MP; Alan McCulla ANIFPO; and Harry Wick, NIFPO.

Jim Shannon said: “We were very encouraged by our discussions with Mr. Foster.  Whilst the Minister was unable to provide any firm commitment today, he did provide us with a roadmap that will allow us to build upon the work already done by the fishing industry in Portavogie and across the ports of Ardglass and Kilkeel in County Down.

“This work has already resulted in fishing vessel deckhands being recognised by the Government as a skilled occupation.  

“The unprecedented Covid pandemic has caused significant uncertainty in the labour market throughout the UK, but as things stabilise the Government intends to commission further work during 2022 and we hope this can result in an outcome that will benefit all concerned.

“I was very content with the meeting. Minister Foster was clearly on top of the issue and our industry representatives have consistently approached the matter in a mature fashion, pointing out that their aspiration for the industry is one where domestic workers will want to pursue a career at sea on our fishing boats. 

“Of course, there is a way to go with this and many challenges remain, but the Minister welcomed the commitments made by our fishing industry representatives and I believe this puts us in a good place moving forward.”