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Seafish begins formal industry consultation to revise levy structure

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SEAFISH, the public body that supports the UK seafood industry to thrive, has started formal consultation with its levy payers and the wider seafood industry on proposals for a new levy model.  

Levy is due on the first sale of seafood, both domestically landed and imported, in the UK. It is not charged on farmed salmon, trout, and freshwater fish species because these species are excluded by primary legislation. Nor is it currently charged on canned, bottled and pouched seafood products.  

The levy collected is used by Seafish to provide support, advice and services across the whole UK seafood supply chain.  

During the Seafish Strategic Review in 2021, the seafood industry recognised the need for a review of the levy system given it had not changed since 1999. There was general agreement that an improved levy model was needed to ensure Seafish had a stable financial model and could continue to provide the support industry needs, now and into the future.  

The Seafish Board held informal consultations with the seafood industry in spring 2023 on proposed changes to the levy system. In December 2023 the Board released a response to the Informal Consultation which set out how it had considered the feedback received from stakeholders and had revised the package of levy amendments in response.  

The Seafish Board is now holding the statutory consultation on the proposed changes. The consultation will be open for twelve weeks until Friday 9 August.  

Seafish is collecting feedback via an independent online survey and anyone with an interest in the Seafish levy as well as the wider seafood industry are invited to respond. They will also be hosting a series of webinars for stakeholders interested in learning more about the proposed changes. 

Information on the consultation, which consists of the Formal Consultation Paper (available in Welsh and English), the draft Regulation, and an Economic Impact Assessment can be downloaded from the Seafish website here.  

The proposed changes to the Seafish levy include: 

  • The current sea fish levy rate of 0.903p/kg will be increased to 1p/kg. This will be renamed the “Category 1” levy. 
  • The current levy rate that applies to mussels, cockles, and pelagic fish (as defined in regulation) will increase from 0.258p/kg to 0.5p/kg over a three-year period.  
  • The current levy rate for whelks will increase from 0.4515p/kg to 0.5p/kg 
  • The levy for mussels, cockles, pelagic fish (as defined in regulation) and whelks will be renamed the “Category 2” levy.   
  • The levy rates for manufactured fishmeal and ‘fish destined for’ fishmeal will also increase, as follows: 
  • Manufactured fishmeal will increase from 0.175p/kg to 0.315p/kg.   
  • Fish destined for fishmeal will increase from 0.035p/kg to 0.05p/kg.    
  • For the first time levy will apply to canned, bottled, and pouched seafood products, for those species within the scope of the levy. 
  • The levy for all seafood and seafood products would be adjusted annually, subject to a cap on the annual adjustment of 2%.  
  • Minor changes to the administration of the levy to make collection and payment more efficient. 

Mike Sheldon, Chair of the Seafish Board, said:  “After our informal consultation last year, we have taken industry feedback on board and made further revisions to refine the proposed levy adjustments. It is our priority to make the levy fit for purpose, fairer for all and ensure we can continue to deliver the support industry have told us they need, now and in the future.  

While we appreciate that the seafood industry is under financial pressure, our proposed changes strike a good balance, minimising impacts on the industry while allowing us to effectively support the seafood sector as an organisation. 

This consultation is an important step in shaping a levy that better serves our stakeholders.” 

Once this formal consultation process ends Seafish will make formal recommendations to government, and these will be considered by relevant Ministers across the UK Government and the Devolved administrations. There is not a timeframe for when Ministers will reach a decision yet, but businesses will have as much notice as possible before any changes come into effect so that they can plan ahead.    

Any queries about the consultation should be sent to [email protected] 

Business

West Wales firm fined £75,000 after man killed by escaped cow

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A WEST WALES company has been fined £75,000 following the death of a 75-year-old man, Huw Evans, who was killed by a cow that had escaped from a livestock market. The incident occurred on November 19, 2022, at Whitland Livestock Market in Carmarthenshire, operated by J.J. Morris Limited.

Father-of-two Mr Evans was crossing the junction at North Road and West Street in Whitland when the cow, which was being auctioned, escaped from the market pen. The animal attacked Mr Evans, knocking him down and trampling him. He suffered multiple injuries and was airlifted to the University Hospital of Wales, where he succumbed to his injuries six days later.

A worker from J.J. Morris Limited was also injured during an unsuccessful attempt to recapture the cow. The cow eventually made its way towards Whitland Rugby Club and a railway line before being subdued and put down by Dyfed-Powys Police.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) launched an investigation into the incident and found that J.J. Morris Limited had failed to implement essential physical control measures to prevent cattle from escaping. The HSE concluded that the company’s risk assessment was inadequate, referencing control measures that were not in place at the market.

J.J. Morris Limited, based in Haverfordwest, admitted to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The company was fined £75,000 and ordered to pay £5,047.55 in costs by Llanelli Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, June 20.

In court, Mr Evans’ son, Dafydd, expressed his grief, saying: “Dad was my best friend, and I miss him terribly. He was taken from us too soon. Losing dad has had a tremendous effect on both myself and my brother. Because of this incident, dad’s grandsons will never fully know him personally, and he will not see them grow up.”

Following the hearing, HSE inspector Rhys Hughes remarked, “This tragic incident was foreseeable and preventable. The risk posed by cattle escaping from the livestock mart should have been identified, and effective control measures implemented. The case highlights the importance of following industry guidance, which is readily accessible and outlines the requirements to safely manage cattle.”

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Business

Tata workers call first strikes in 40 years to stop steel destruction

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HISTORIC strikes in Port Talbot as Labour vows emergency talks with Tata after general election

Around 1,500 Tata workers based in Port Talbot and Llanwern will begin all-out indefinite strike action over the company’s plans to cut 2,800 jobs and close its blast furnaces.

The strike action, which begins on 8 July, will severely impact Tata’s UK operations. It is the first time in over 40 years that steel workers in the UK have taken strike action.

The escalation in industrial action comes after the workers, who are members of Unite, the UK’s leading union, began working to rule and an overtime ban on Tuesday (June 17).

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Tata’s workers are not just fighting for their jobs – they are fighting for the future of their communities and the future of steel in Wales.

“Our members will not standby while this immensely wealthy conglomerate tries to throw Port Talbot and Llanwern on the scrapheap so it can boost its operations abroad. They know South Wales is ideally placed to take advantage of the coming boom in green steel – if the right choices are made.

“The strikes will go on until Tata halts its disastrous plans. Unite is backing Tata’s workers to the hilt in their historic battle to save the Welsh steel industry and give it the bright future it deserves.”

Labour has called for Tata to halt its plans and wait until after the general election to engage in talks with the government, saying there is a ‘better deal to do’. Labour has pledged £3 billion for UK steel if elected next month, a commitment secured by Unite. Labour has also made emergency talks with Tata a priority if it wins the election.

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Business

Amendments submitted for holiday chalets scheme at trout fishery

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Amendments to a scheme granted by Pembrokeshire councillors last year after being repeatedly recommended for refusal have been submitted to county planners.

Last summer, Pembrokeshire councillors backed plans for holiday chalets at a trout fishery, despite them being recommended for refusal on multiple occasions.

Plans to provide nine accommodation cabins and ancillary works at a former fishery business at Millbrook, Manorwen, Fishguard, were backed at two meetings of Pembrokeshire County Council planning committee, despite them being recommended for refusal.

The application was backed for a second time at the committee’s May meeting, after a ‘minded to approve’ decision at the previous meeting.

The decision, a departure from the adopted Local Development Plan, meant the application would need to be referred to full council for a final decision.

Officers had repeatedly recommended Messrs L & C Williams’ application  – diversification of an existing agricultural holding and trout fishery business – be refused on the grounds it would have an unacceptable adverse impact on the character and appearance of the countryside.

The application was then considered at the July 2023 meeting of Pembrokeshire County Council, with a recommendation that the council did not endorse the resolution of the planning committee on the grounds it went against Development Plan policies which directed that planning permission should not be granted.

The application was conditionally approved by 48 votes to eight, with one abstention.

The applicants have now submitted amendments to the granted scheme, asking for revisions to the plans to include a lower carbon footprint through air-source heat exchangers for both heating and hot water and the use of solar panels.

It also includes the need for addition excavations needed and hopes to make it more disability-friendly.

The amendments will be considered at a later date.

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