The National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations

Navigating a ‘perfect media storm’ to help major fishing body deal with a direct attack from Greenpeace


The client

The NFFO represents fishermen and producer organisations in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The objective

Acceleris was appointed in February 2013 to challenge negative perceptions of UK fishermen and focus instead on their efforts to develop a sustainable industry.

Little did we know that within days of us being appointed, the NFFO would come up against a direct attack from Greenpeace, which coincided with ground-breaking European legislative change and a protest lobby led by TV chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. Acceleris was thus tasked with defending the fishing industry’s reputation from unwarranted, inaccurate and sensationalist media attacks.

What we did

We undertook an integrated crisis communications plan which included a 24-hour press office function. Local fishermen helped to combat the potentially negative messages of the Channel 4 Fish Fight programme regionally, and NFFO Chief Executive, Barrie Deas, joined Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall on a march on Westminster.


  • Five of seven annual objectives achieved in the first month
  • 88 pieces of coverage (89% positive)
  • 135 million positive opportunities to see
  • Foundations laid for a much higher media profile, including coverage on Newsnight and in The Times
“Acceleris quickly demonstrated that it had the insight, contacts and commitment to make a difference from a standing start.” Barrie Deas