News story

Changes to demersal trawl selectivity measures in the Celtic Sea

In 2012 the European Commission introduced the requirement for vessels using bottom trawls and seines to use Square Meshed Panels (SMP) to improve selectivity and protect juvenile fish in the Celtic Sea.

Sea

On 29 May 2015 the requirements will change and all vessels in the Celtic Sea using bottom trawls and seines of mesh size range between 70-119mm must insert a 120mm SMP. The rear edge of the panel must be no further than 9 metres from the codline.

There are permitted derogations:

  • vessels may use a derogated device or combination of gear and device which has been assessed by the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) as having the same or higher selectivity for cod, haddock and whiting; or

  • vessels fishing in the area east of 8° West of the Celtic Sea and whose catch comprises at least 55% whiting may use a SMP of at least 100mm if the codend mesh size is 100mm or greater (TR1)

A vessel is only permitted to use a derogated gear if it has been issued with an authorisation prior to going to sea. English registered UK vessels can apply for an authorisation by contacting the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) fishing vessel licensing team on 0191 376 2598 or email fishingvessellicensing@marinemanagement.org.uk.

For the purposes of the regulation the Celtic Sea is defined as ICES divisions VIIf, VIIg and the part of VIIj that lies north of latitude 50° N and east of 11° W.

Further details on the requirements can be found in Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 737/2012 as amended by Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 741/2015 and please contact your local MMO office if you have any queries.

Published 28 May 2015