Supporting the UK’s Fishing Fleet Through Uncertain Times

October 24, 2019

Seafarers UK has stepped in to support those working in the UK’s Fishing Fleet as Parliament determines how and when the UK will depart from membership of the European Union.

As much as 80% of the fish caught in the UK is exported to other countries. The current lack of clarity around the timing of the UK’s departure and potential for new tariffs, export paperwork and possible border delays could cause an uncertain financial future for those who earn their income from selling the fish they catch.

To help support the UK Fishing Fleet during this period of uncertainty, Seafarers UK has awarded grant funding for a new Fishing Specialist Caseworker post to provide free advice through the existing Seafarers Advice and Information Line (SAIL).

SAIL is a freephone Citizens Advice service for seafarers and their families which is funded in partnership by Seafarers UK, Seafarers’ Hospital Society and Greenwich Hospital. Seafarers UK’s funding of a new Fishing Specialist Caseworker role provides an additional resource aimed at specifically supporting fishers during a period of uncertainty and potential disruption to their ability to earn an income.

Fishers can be sure of excellent guidance. Natasha Taylor who was previously employed by Northampton Citizens Advice and more recently was funded by the Fishmongers’ Company’s Fisheries Charitable Trust to collect data for Seafarers UK’s new research project on the Financial Resilience of Fishermen has been appointed as SAIL’s new Fishing Specialist Caseworker. Natasha will use her unique knowledge and expertise of financial problems experienced by fishers to enable them to find solutions. Please see video below with Natasha explaining her role.

Emerging findings from the research reveal that fishers can experience growing debt problems when unable to fish; perhaps because of sickness and ill health or because the fishing vessel is in for repair. This can lead to problems with priority* debt as it becomes difficult to keep up housing and council tax payments when there is little or no income coming in. As well as help with debt problems, fishers will be able to get help with housing and relationship problems too. Natasha can also advice on accessing welfare benefits, the state pension or provide help if worried about falling behind on tax payments to HMRC. Support to access grants provided by other maritime welfare charities is also available.

If you know a fisher who could benefit from some advice and help, please let them know that SAIL is there to help them. For more information about help available for fishermen, please visit


* Priority debts are ones where serious action can be taken against a person if the debt is not paid, such as losing one’s home, being disconnected for energy supplies or going to prison.