Monthly Archives: March 2017

Fishing for Leadership in 2017

Ben Rowe – Account Executive

Most people would agree 2016 played host to a seismic shift in world politics. With Article 50 on the verge of being triggered, people from all walks of life are wondering what the future holds for them in post-Brexit Britain. Not least, the fishing industry.

You may think the challenges facing commercial fishing are well established. For example, fishing holds the longstanding title of ‘most dangerous occupation in the world’ with the fatal accident rate over 100 times that of the general workforce in the UK.

Additionally, fishing is an industry we are heavily reliant on and has rich historical ties with our island nation. Around 80% of us consume seafood at least once a month and the UK fishing industry remains crucially important to many coastal towns.

Criticism, however, is never far away. Organisations such as Greenpeace have run regular sensationalist campaigns condemning the effects of fishing, including excess bycatch, discards, diminishing stocks, environmental damage and animal welfare.


Source: BBC



External pressures are only going to add to an already turbulent discussion. Brexit negotiations throw quotas and the jurisdiction of waters up in the air, making the future for fishermen particularly hazy.

In January, Prime Minister Theresa May came under attack from UK fishermen for ‘betraying’ them when outlining the government’s plans for the negotiations with the EU after the triggering of Article 50. In a Brexit speech at Westminster, May was deemed to have failed to address the future of UK fisheries and the relationship with the rest of Europe once ties are cut on Union membership. Fears about fishing being used as a ‘bargaining chip’ in negotiations only served to raise the stakes for a proud industry which MEP Mike Hookem believes could be a ‘shot in the arm’ for the country post-Brexit.

This new political environment and subsequent change does, however, present an opportunity to those within the fishing industry. Customers will be looking for reliability, consistency and stability among the uncertainty. With strong communications there is the chance to be a leading light in what may appear an uncertain time. Building a strong media presence can position you as the voice of the industry. It is perhaps not a time to rock the boat, as being consistent and reliable can breed confidence and trust.

Currently, 66% of UK fish exports go to the EU, meaning tariff-free or low-tariff trade could be vital to Britain in the coming years. Brexit will mean the UK leaves the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and gains the right under international law to control who fishes within its waters.

Whilst many see the UK’s impending release from EU ties as positive for the fishing industry, there are warnings to be considered. The CFP is a taboo topic in many industry circles and whilst ‘taking back control’ of British waters is a popular mantra, those working in fisheries will have to act smartly to ensure any potential freedom is enjoyed responsibly.


Source: Press Association



These concerns, and more, highlight the need for communications to be carefully managed and balanced with good practice to maintain successful operations within fishing companies. If companies show good preparation in their handling of the media and act first, fast and frank in the case of an incident, it can put them on the front foot rather than relying on reactionary measures.

Acceleris has worked with the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO) since 2013, landing six awards in the process, at both national and European level.

Just days after starting work with the NFFO, we established an integrated crisis communications plan when they came up against a direct attack from Greenpeace, coinciding with ground-breaking European legislation change and a protest lobby led by TV chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. From a standing start, Acceleris achieved five of seven annual objectives in the first month, landing 88 pieces of coverage (89% positive), 135 million positive opportunities to see and laid the foundations for a much higher media profile, including coverage on Newsnight and in The Times.

We have since challenged misconceptions about the fishing industry through campaigns such as ‘Let Them Eat Hake’, the championing of Britain’s most sustainable fish, in 2014. Through a radio day, celebrity endorsements, hake tasting sessions attended by opinion formers and the use of video, the celebration of sustainability changed the conversation from concerns about overfishing, generating significant positive coverage across media platforms over a prolonged period.

We have the experience and expertise to make a difference from the get-go.

Challenges to fishing are not going to go away in a hurry. The balance between operating successfully at a financial level and maintaining responsibility is a difficult one to manage. If you need support steering through these turbulent times, we are here to help. Give us a call today on 0845 4567 251 or send an email to

Ten Years of Acceleris in Photos

Simon Baylis, Account Director

After ten years at Acceleris I will be shortly leaving to take up a new role.

Instead of a long and tearful goodbye note I’ve collected my favourite photos (good and bad) that I think tell the story of the agency’s first ten years.


The Car Buyers’ Survival School

The Car Buyers’ Survival School

Back in time to 2007 and our first major campaign for (there would be many others) featuring motoring celeb Vicki Butler-Henderson. This was significant because it won our first award (Silver at the CIPR Pride Awards).



Bolton at Home

Bolton at Home

The launch of Bolton at Home’s ‘Door to Door’ project in 2008, featuring a fresh-faced gold medal winning Olympian (on the right). This was a film involving hundreds of local people (and the odd celeb) which was projected onto buildings in the town centre. Peter Kay was busy doing his big shop.

I had to include this – a gruelling 800 mile round trip across the UK to promote and their new in-car Tai Chi (it helps motorists to relax behind the wheel!) We still have those outfits somewhere.





This was for NYnet publicising the roll out of superfast broadband in North Yorkshire. I can’t remember why putting Alessandra (again, sorry!) on a train track helped but the story picked up lots of coverage. Alessandra was unhurt.



Vantage Motor Group

Vantage Motor Group

The launch of the Vantage Community Drive and one of my favourite photos (Chris North) capturing the action. This was a competition for our client Vantage Motor Group which saw community groups benefiting from cash grants.



Shipwrecked Mariner’s Society (Source: Kate Westaway)

Shipwrecked Mariner’s Society

‘Celebrations of the Sea’ for the Shipwrecked Mariner’s Society (Kate Westaway). This was a fantastic photography exhibition to help raise awareness of the important work of this maritime charity. We’ve since run an annual photography competition which has grown in popularity each year.



Remade in Britain

Remade in Britain

This photo must be the most widely used in Acceleris history. Shot by (Simon Dewhurst) in a skip for the price of a used Mondeo, it helped launch upcycling business Remade in Britain.



The National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO)

The National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO)

‘Navigating a Perfect Media Storm’ – for the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO) (Chris North again). This photo accompanied a wide reaching campaign to promote the interests of UK fisherman in the media and helped kick-start the agency’s maritime specialism. It also marked the agency’s first international award (2013 European Communications Excellence Awards – ‘Issues and reputation management).





NHS IQ and the Wheelchair Leadership Alliance (Warren King). This was a striking image of Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson with Alliance members launching a campaign to improve wheelchair provision in the NHS. This tells a complex story with a very simple photo.



Team Acceleris!


There are so many glam photos of the team to choose from but this shows what happens if you take everyone to the outskirts of Leeds, lock them in a yurt and add a free bar.


Thank you to everyone, clients and colleagues for a memorable decade and enjoy the next ten years.