Falkland Islands Fishing Companies Association, (FIFCA) in partnership with the Falkland Islands Government (FIG) has reached an agreement it is hoped will provide long-term financial security to the Lighthouse Seafarers Mission.
Taking effect from July 2023, an initial sum of £125,000 has been approved for the first year on a 60/40 basis, (FIFCA/FIG respectively).
Speaking to Penguin News Executive Secretary, FIFCA James Bates told Penguin News that discussions around the financial support first began in late 2017/early 2018, when the independent review of the ITQ system began.
He said: “After complex discussions and negotiations, the Accord was signed in 2020, but sadly this was followed by the 2-year pandemic hiatus meaning that the development of the action plan had to be temporarily de-prioritised. However, work re-commenced on the action plan as soon as time allowed and with the new 25-year ITQB system taking effect from the start of 2023, both FIFCA and FIG were keen to start meeting their obligations contained within the action plan of which a key item was the long-term support and security of the Lighthouse to Seafarers Mission.”
Subject to annual review, the approved sum for 23/24 financial year is purely designed to support the core funding of the Mission such as staff, fuel and day to day running costs.
Mr Bates said that the Seafarers Mission provides “vital support not just to the seafaring community involved in fishing, but the wider seafaring sector including the cruise ship sector, and Falklands society as a whole.
He added that the level of support from the fishing industry and FIG did not just provide a demonstration of regard to which Maurice and his team were held, “but also the long-term assurances and confidence he needs to keep up the excellent work carried out by the Mission.”
Deputy Chair of the Legislative Assembly, MLA Teslyn Barkman added: “I am delighted to see that this action plan is now able to proceed. The Seafarers Mission has been at the heart of providing a home from home for those in the seafaring industry, during the pandemic the building and staff played a critical part in enabling crew to have access to vaccinations.
“The Seafarers Mission will continue to be an important part in our fishing and wider seafaring industry, I would like to sincerely thank Maurice and his team for their continued hard work in retaining the high standard that the Seafarers Mission is renowned for.” (Penguin News)