English fishing vessels sought for discards trials

English fishing vessels sought for discards trials

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) is looking for English fishing vessels to take part in trials aiming to encourage more selective fishing activity

The MMO is looking for English fishing vessels working in the North Sea to take part in three trial schemes which may help to reduce discards and encourage more selective fishing behaviour.

Vessels taking part in the trials may be fitted with remote electronic monitoring (REM) equipment or be involved in trying out new gears and may be awarded additional quota in return.

The MMO has run fully documented fisheries (FDF) schemes, sometimes referred to as catch quota trials, since 2011. As part of these schemes remote electronic monitoring (REM) equipment is fitted to vessels to encourage a reduction in discards. In addition, REM has proven to be a useful tool for gathering scientific data. The MMO has collaborated with the Centre for the Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Sciences (Cefas) on exploring this use.

The MMO is looking for English fishing vessels to apply for two fully documented fisheries schemes in 2018, which are North Sea Fully Documented Fisheries and North-East Nephrops Fully Documented Fisheries. The MMO is also looking for English vessels to take part in the North East Nephrops Net Selectivity trials which is looking to trial new gears which have the potential to be more selective.

To take part the vessel must be English-registered and a member of a Producer Organisation. In return for taking part in this scheme, vessels will be able to access additional quota for North Sea cod and saithe. In addition scientific quota may be available.

The application deadline is 16th April for the scheme and its aims are to test the use of REM as a control and enforcement tool, to monitor compliance with fisheries legislation, to test new developments in REM technologies and to trial the use of inter-species flexibility (ISF).

North-East Nephrops a new scheme for 2018. To take part vessels must be English-registered and work within the North East nephrops fishery, with applications to be made before 30th April. In return for participation in this scheme, vessels will be able to access additional quota for North Sea haddock and whiting. In addition, scientific quota for nephrops may be available. The aims of this scheme are to test the use of REM as a control and enforcement tool within the nephrops fishery, to monitor compliance with fisheries legislation and test new developments in REM technologies.

a further new scheme for 2018 is for North-East nephrops net selectivity, with a 30th April application cut-off date.

Participating vessels must be English-registered and working within the North East nephrops fishery, and applicants are asked when applying to propose how they might improve their gear selectivity and the methods they will use to do this. In return for participation in this scheme, vessels will be able to access additional quota for North Sea haddock and whiting. The aims of this scheme are to trial the use of highly selective gear to reduce discards and catches of below Minimum Conservation Reference Size (MCRS) fish, and to document the effects of using highly selective gear in this fishery

For more information on the scheme email ukcatchquota@defra.gov.uk or call 0300 123 1032.