© Crown copyright 2015
This publication is licensed under the terms of the Open Government Licence v3.0 except where otherwise stated. To view this licence, visit nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/3 or write to the Information Policy Team, The National Archives, Kew, London TW9 4DU, or email: email@example.com.
Where we have identified any third party copyright information you will need to obtain permission from the copyright holders concerned.
This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/north-west-waters-landing-obligation-guidance/north-west-waters-landing-obligation-guidance
1. Sea area
The North Western Waters covers EU waters within ICES areas: Vb, VI and VII.
2. Species covered
The species included in the landing obligation in 2016 are:
Whether you have to land a species or not will depend on the type of fishing gear you are using, the sea area you are in and potentially your fishing track record. See the table below to check if you are affected. Please check against all areas you fish in and gears you fish with.
|Area||Gear||Species which must be landed||Who it applies to||Exemptions available|
|VI, VII and EU waters of Vb||Gillnets and trammel nets||Hake||All using the specified gear||No|
|VI, VII and EU waters of Vb||Hooks and lines||Hake||All using the specified gear||No|
|VI, VII and EU waters of Vb||Trawls and seines||Hake||Those meeting a catch threshold||No|
|VIa, VII and EU waters of Vb||Trawls and seines||Nephrops||Those meeting a catch threshold||Undersize Nephrops can be discarded|
|VIa, VII and EU waters of Vb||Pots||Nephrops||Those meeting a catch threshold||Unwanted catches can be discarded as there is a high rate of survival|
|VIa, VIIa and EU waters of Vb||Trawls and seines||Haddock||Those meeting a catch threshold||No|
|VIIb to k||Trawls and seines||Whiting||Those meeting a catch threshold||Undersize whiting can be discarded|
|VIId||Trawls <100mm||Sole||Those meeting a catch threshold||No|
|VII b-k||Gillnets and trammel nets||Sole||All using the specified gears||Undersize sole can be discarded in VIId -g|
|VIId||Beam trawls||Sole||All using the specified gears||Undersize sole can be discarded in VIId in beam trawls with increased selectivity|
|VIIe||Beam trawls||Sole||Those meeting a catch threshold||Undersize sole can be discarded in VIIe in beam trawls with increased selectivity|
|VII b,c, f-k||Beam trawls||Sole||Those meeting a catch threshold||Undersize sole can be discarded in VIIf and g in beam trawls with increased selectivity|
2.1 Catch threshold
If you are affected by the landing obligation as a result of meeting a catch threshold you will be informed by the MMO by the end of November. Contact your regional MMO office or your PO (if applicable) if concerned as they will hold a list of vessels subject to the landing obligation.
Vessel track records over 2013 and 2014 will be used to calculate whether you meet a catch threshold.
You cannot get your vessel track record transferred or altered. If you have purchased a vessel and intend to pursue a different fishery than that which it targeted in 2013-2014 you need to apply to the MMO to get your vessel’s track record disregarded. Your application will have to be endorsed by your PO and the MMO may choose to apply certain conditions to the license. This is at the MMO’s discretion.
3. North West Waters Exemptions
In addition to general exemptions there are specific exemptions which apply to the North Western Waters.
- Nephrops caught in pots in areas VIa and VII can be discarded.
Nephrops should be discarded swiftly and returned in the area where they were caught to maximise survivability.
De minimis exemptions:
- You are permitted to discard undersize sole less than 24cm caught in trammel nets or gill nets in areas VIId to g.
- You are permitted to discard undersize whiting less than 27cm caught in bottom trawls in areas VIIb to j.
- You are permitted to discard undersize nephrops less than 70mm caught by trawls and seines in areas VIa and VII.
- You are permitted to discard undersize sole less than 24cm caught with beam trawls with increased selectivity in areas VIId to g.
Gears with increased selectivity have to be verified by the EU’s scientific committee (STECF). A large mesh (120mm mesh) in the extension section of the beam trawl has been approved as an effective method to reduce the capture of undersize sole.
You should notify Cefas if there are any additional gear modifications you would want approved.
For a vessel to utilise one of these exemptions it must meet the exemption criteria and abide by the recording requirements.
De minimis exemptions have been scientifically approved and were awarded where either:
- scientific evidence shows further improvements in selectivity is difficult to achieve
- there is disproportionate cost to fishermen in handling unwanted catches
The Government does not propose to ‘allocate’ discards under the de minimis provision. The MMO will monitor the level of discarding under these exemptions to ensure we remain within our national allowances.
If the national allowance is exceeded the exemption will be removed. You will have to land all catches and they will count against your quota.
4. Further Information
The North Western Waters discard plan agreed by the Member State regional groups were submitted to the Commission.
Commission Delegated Regulation establishing the discard plan for demersal fisheries in the North Western Waters.