According to the MMO, more than 1900 UK under-10-metre fishing vessel owners have registered on the system, representing 77% of the fleet. Over 27,000 individual catch records have been recorded and submitted so far.
The catch recording application was introduced by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) at the end of 2019, intended to enable better management of fisheries and provide evidence of sustainable fisheries practice across the under-10-metre fishing fleet.
‘The number of catches being recorded on the catch app by fishers across the under-10-metre English fleet continues to rise, with the average number of catches recorded up to over 930 every week. I want to thank everyone using the catch app, including those giving feedback that is helping the MMO deliver app upgrades and improvements,’ said MMO CEO Tom McCormack.
‘Across the MMO, we continue our focus on engagement and support to the fishing industry with a range of support and assurance services. We will further build on our Covid-19 related engagement and support activity with the fishing industry to help shape further progress.’
In advance of its introduction, the catch app was developed and tested with the involvement and support of more than a hundred skippers.
In addition to one-to-one support from coastal offices, drop-in sessions were held around the country earlier this year to provide support through the continued roll out. Feedback provided has already led to several improvements on the app, including the addition of more ports and fish species, the option to record volumes of fish caught in increments of less than 1kg, the option for vessels landing less than 10kg of species subject to quota or catch limits, as part of a landing of shellfish from pots only, to record the landing within 24 hours, rather than before landing, and allowing an unlimited number of favourite species to be set.
‘The requirement to register and submit landings records is a licence condition for all under-10-metre fishing vessel owners. Fishers need to register and use the application to achieve our collective goal of sustainable fishing opportunities for the future,’ said MMO Director of Operations Phil Haslam.
‘We have been clear in previous updates that when we move to a phase of enforcement industry would be notified and this remains the case. Despite recent reports in the media, our stance has not changed since the introduction of the application, and we remain committed to continuing to listen to and support the fishing community in adapting to this new requirement, making changes to the system where necessary.
He commented that like many other public services, the catch recording application is currently in a state of public BETA.
‘This means that the MMO is continuing to work with users to strengthen the service, in terms of its functionality and utility,’ he said.