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Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Preparing for "landing obligations"

In June EU member states signalled agreement to an historic deal to reform the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). The package of reforms includes firm dates to ban fish discards, through "landing obligations" for all quota stocks.

These will be phased in fishery by fishery, starting with pelagic fisheries on 1 January 2015, with other fisheries beginning from 2016. Fishermen will be required to land all catches of quota species once the landing obligation is in place. This means that future quotas will be related to what is caught rather than what is landed.

All fishermen who catch quota species will be affected.

To help English fishermen prepare for these changes, Defra and Cefas have begun a five-year project, "Applied Science to Support the Industry in delivering an end to discards" (the ASSIST project). Cefas will conduct scientific studies alongside fishermen to provide evidence to support the English fishing industry to end discarding and to maximise revenues.

To kick off the project, Cefas fisheries scientists Ana Ribeiro Santos and Tom Catchpole will visit English ports to meet fishermen and help identify the potential impacts and opportunities that the landing obligation will raise.

Ana Ribeiro Santos said: "The aim of these road shows is to understand how different English fishing groups will be affected by the ban. We will present catch and discards data, collected during the Cefas Observer programme, and share our knowledge on discards patterns.

"Through dialogue with those who come along to the meetings, we will identify priority areas that require further operational studies, for instance fishing-gear technology trials or studies on survival estimates, which could be carried out in the following years of the project.

"We are looking forward to working with fishermen and learning more about their experiences, to make sure we can identify all the implications of the discards ban for various fishing groups."

Road shows are planned for September and October 2013 at Whitehaven, Fleetwood, North Shields, Blyth, Scarborough, Kings Lynn, Lowestoft, West Mersea, Ramsgate, Shoreham, Rye, Hastings, Looe, Polperro, Newlyn, Appledore, Bideford, Ilfracombe, Brixham and Plymouth.

Dates, times and locations of the meetings are currenly being organised by Cefas' port-based Fisheries Observers, but the following September dates have now been confirmed:

ASSIST road shows





Whitehaven518.00Fish Hall
Lowestoft919.00Victoria Hotel
West Mersea1119.00Yacht Club
Mevagissey1611.00-17.00: Drop-in session
19.00: Discard presentation
Function Room
Looe and Polperro1711.00-17.00: Drop-in session
19.00: Discard presentation
Looe Lifeboat House
Newlyn18-2013.00-17.00: Drop-in session
19.00: Discard presentation
Fishermen's Mission
Brixham24-2513.00-17.00: Drop-in session
19.00: Discard presentation
Training Room, Brixham Trawler Agents
Plymouth26-2713.00-17.00: Drop-in session
19.00: Discard presentation
PTA Auction Room

Other dates will be announced via:
Ana Ribeiro Santos continued: "All fishermen who catch quota species will be affected. By working together, we can achieve an even more robust scientific evidence base and therefore better results for the industry."