A MINISTER from central Government was greeted by a senior councillor at the opening of the new offices for the Sussex Inshore Fisheries & Conservation Authority (Sussex IFCA).
MP Richard Benyon, Minister for Natural Environment & Fisheries, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, officially opened the new Sussex IFCA premises in Shoreham-by-Sea on Monday, April 30.
Roger Thomas, an East Sussex County Councillor for Hailsham & Herstmonceux, welcomed Mr Benyon - in his other role as Chairman of SIFCA.
Mr Thomas told the Minister his visit to the new offices was greatly appreciated, more than a year since the IFCA scheme was launched.
In a speech, he said: “A great deal has happened in the past year and to accommodate enough staff to meet our new remit adequately, we needed to find new premises.
“I regard your visit here today as a compliment to our fine professional staff led by chief officer Tim Dapling and his deputy Rob Clark. However I must emphasise that the whole team is excellent and they have built a first class reputation all along the Sussex coast and beyond.”
The IFCAs are tasked with working in partnership with a wide range of bodies concerned with the marine environment ranging from professional fishermen and their colleagues in retail, to a variety of organisations such as the DEFRA, the Environment Agency, Natural England and the Marine Management Organisation.
The work involves forming good relationships with police, immigration, customs, and fire services to name but a few.
Mr Thomas continued: “Our authority members also provide a splendid bank of professional knowledge from academia, marine archaeology, and all aspects of commercial and recreational fishing.
“However, I must reserve a special mention for the excellent support we receive from our local authorities, namely West & East Sussex and Brighton and Hove. In fact our ability to acquire such a superb premise was as a direct result of the positive action taken by West Sussex who formerly rented these offices.”
Mr Benyon’s positive support for Sussex IFCA was praised by Mr Thomas who gave him and his staff ‘a big thank you’.
Mr Thomas told the MP: “Thank you for being with us today, it means a great deal to all of the team.”
The Minister praised the work of the Sussex IFCA and in particular Roger Thomas for his leadership skills.
He noted the successful partnership formed with many associated bodies from the Environment Agency to natural England.