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At the request of the UK-wide Scallop Industry Consultation Group, the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) has been asked to contribute to an effort swap with the Netherlands authorities to exchange Western Waters effort related to the 2015 effort year.
The current proposal is to exchange 155,000 kW days of ICES area VII scallop effort (from the Netherlands) in return for 465,000 kW days demersal effort (from the UK).
The decision on whether this exchange is agreed will be taken by UK Fisheries Administrations after a consultation and full analysis of the costs and benefits of the swap to all UK fishing fleets.
As such, we are seeking the views of the scalloping sector and wider industry active in ICES area VII.
Some relevant information is outlined below:
At the current fleet size, the extra 155,000 KW days of effort would equate to 3.9 days of extra fishing activity per scalloping vessel affected (this is only over 15 metre scallopers that are currently subject to effort restrictions in Area VII). Currently these vessels are operating with a maximum of 36 days for the quarter.
Landings by scallopers form a significant proportion of the throughput of many ports in the Channel, and the current levels of effort restriction on scallopers will be having an impact.
The UK has a large amount of area VII demersal effort and as such no limitation of activity by UK demersal vessels will be seen if this swap is agreed.
There are concerns over the increases seen in demersal effort in the Channel in recent years, which this swap would allow to continue.
When the UK did not participate in this swap in 2014, the Netherlands acquired 300,000 kW days from Ireland (in exchange for 100,000 kW days scallop effort) in order for Dutch vessels to continue operating in the Channel.
With these facts in mind we would like to know your views on the following questions:
Should this swap take place? Please give reasons.
Do you feel the proposed rate of 155,000 kW days scallop effort for 465,000 kW demersal effort is acceptable?
If we agree to this swap, should the benefiting sector donate quota to compensate impacted fleet segments?
The MMO are keen to consult with you on this subject and would welcome any comments by emailing email@example.com by 20 March 2015.