Mike Park is a former fisherman and skipper who, in addition to his leading role in the SWFPA, is very active on a number of bodies and foundations, playing a main role in the European fisheries sector. He is the Chairman of the Scottish Fisheries Sustainable Accreditation Group Ltd (SFSAG). SWFPA has been instrumental in delivering MSC certification for major North Sea stocks such as haddock. He also participates in the North Sea Regional Advisory Council (NSRAC) as vice chairman and Director. Regional Advisory Councils were set up in the wake of the 2002 CFP reform in a bid to provide structures to improve fisheries governance through greater stakeholder participation.
He is also a Board Member of Seafish Industry Authority (Ministerial Appointment) and the Chair of Committee on Policy at the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF). In his various roles, he has been advocating the decentralisation of fisheries management in order to involve industry players who hold so much expertise and who are key to the success of fisheries measures.
Industry dynamics affecting competitiveness
After thirty years of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) in Europe, its limitations in relation to environmental and socio-economic aspects have been well-documented. The STEFC identified some reasons that contribute to poor socio-economic performance due to environmental factors (e.g. reduced TACs and quotas for several key stocks, scarcity of some species, adverse weather conditions, damage caused by marine mammals, closed areas for stock recovery) but also socio-economic factors (e.g. lower average first sale prices, market saturation and poor marketing, the effects of the global economic crisis, export embargos, shortage of local crews). Nevertheless, several authors have pointed out the need to overcome this pessimistic mantra of the CFP since some of the management decisions have been shown to be partly effective in the last decade. In particular, sixteen out of nineteen member states generated a net profit of €506 million in 2013 with a gross profit margin of 20%, generating €3.4 billion of Gross Value Added. In this context, the creation of shared value should contribute towards the advance and strengthening the economic and social conditions of the European fisheries sector while encouraging the stakeholder engagement along the value chain to enhance competitiveness in relation to third countries. Furthermore, the setting of strategic plans for future production and innovation will also contribute to strengthen the long-term viability, allowing to improve the understanding of their markets functioning.