News story

English fishing vessels sought for trials which may help to reduce discards

The MMO is looking for English fishing vessels to take part in trials aiming to encourage more selective fishing activity

nephrops

The Marine Management Organisation (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:

  1. North Sea Fully Documented Fisheries
  2. 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.

North Sea Fully Documented Fisheries

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.

Vessels should apply to take part by 18 April 2018, but if unable to do so by the deadline should contact the MMO as soon as possible to express an interest.

The aims of the scheme in 2018 are to:

  • Test the use of REM as a control and enforcement tool
  • To monitor compliance with fisheries legislation
  • Test new developments in REM technologies
  • Trial the use of inter-species flexibility (ISF)

North-East Nephrops

This is a new scheme for 2018. To take part vessels must be English-registered and work within the North East nephrops fishery. 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.

Vessels must apply to take part by 30 April 2018.

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
  • Test new developments in REM technologies

North-East Nephrops Net Selectivity trials

This is a new scheme for 2018. To take part vessels must be English-registered and work within the North East nephrops fishery. When applying for this scheme vessels are asked 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.

Vessels must apply to take part by 30 April 2018.

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
  • 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. If you would like to take part but have issues meeting the stated deadlines please contact the MMO as soon as possible to express your interest.

This blog post explains more about how fully documented fisheries work in practice.

Published 5 April 2018