Hard-working members are the cornerstone of NIFCA

One of NIFCA's smaller boats, which helps it carry out its vital work in the area.
One of NIFCA's smaller boats, which helps it carry out its vital work in the area.

This article is the fourth in a series of features about the vital work that NIFCA (Northumberland Inshore Fisheries & Conservation Authority) does throughout the region.

A cornerstone of NIFCA and its links to the community which it serves is its membership.

The composition of members produces a balance of different types of members who can take account in an informed way of the range of issues in the NIFCA remit.

NIFCA has 21 members, seven of whom are appointed by NIFCAs constituent councils, six from Northumberland County Council (which provides 67.5 per cent of the authority budget) and one from North Tyneside Council (which provides 13.5 per cent of the budget).

The councillors have the final say on the NIFCA budget. The remaining 19 per cent of the budget is provided by central government (Defra).

NIFCA also has 11 members appointed to the authority by the Marine Management Organisation. They are all acquainted with the needs and opinions of the fishing community of the district and have knowledge of or expertise in marine environmental matters.

Those 11 members have confirmed interests in recreational sea activity, boating, commercial fishing and other subjects within the NIFCA remit, but none of them are representatives of any particular sector and are required to take a balanced view of matters to which they give consideration, including in the setting of NIFCA policies.

The three remaining members are known as statutory appointees and consist of officers from the Environment Agency, Natural England and the Marine Management Organisation.

NIFCA chairman Les Weller, who took over the role from former Amble councillor Robert Arckless in April, said: “I intend to carry on his good work together with my fellow members, supporting the work of our excellent team of officers and staff.

“I am a passionate recreational sea angler, but in my role as a member and NIFCA chairman I approach all subjects on the basis of what is best for the whole marine fishery and environment in Northumberland.

“I’m very pleased with the engagement with the community.”

NIFCA holds a quarterly public meeting at 2pm on the fourth Monday in January, April, July and October. The next is at the Quadrant on North Tyneside.

NIFCA is responsible for managing fisheries resources in the area, from the middle of the River Tyne to the English-Scottish border and out to six nautical miles from the coastal baseline, including all estuaries up to their normal tidal limit. For more information, visit www.nifca.gov.uk