A trial was undertaken in 2013 with 9 vessels from the Southwest Beam Trawl fishery. Each vessel was fitted with Remote Electronic Monitoring (REM) and was required to operate under a discard ban for at least 2 catch quota stocks.
All participants chose Dover Sole (Solea solea) [ICES Area VIIE] and anglerfish [ICES Area VII]. Four of the participants also chose megrim (Lepidorhombus whiffiagonis) as a third catch quota species. Additional quota for use in fully documented fisheries provided under the provisions of 2013 quota regulations was allocated to participants.
The main aims of the trial were to:
- explore the implications of the landing obligation in this mixed demersal beam trawl fishery
- investigate plaice (Pleuronectes platessa) discard levels by using REM verified self-reported data
- continue to trial catch quota management of key demersal species
Fishing effort was monitored for compliance with the requirement to retain and land all catches of catch quota species from a 5% audit of REM data and CCTV footage.
Overall, the 9 vessels in the trial fished in a similar pattern to the rest of the West Channel beam trawl fleet and can therefore be considered to provide a representative sample. The results show low levels of discards of catch quota species, which is comparative to previous trials.
Although not chosen as a catch quota species, plaice discards were also monitored. There was a clear spatial pattern in plaice discards with the highest levels around the 12 nautical mile limit and decreasing further offshore. The results show that for many trips a landing obligation for plaice would have a low impact as very few plaice are discarded. The high levels of discards in the inshore grounds would impact a small number of vessels significantly however, in the absence of improved selectivity or avoidance behaviour.
Overall, REM has been shown to be a cost-effective method of corroborating data reported by the fishing industry. There was a high correlation between onshore observer and skipper estimates.