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Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Manage your fishing effort: Western Waters crabs and scallops

Western Waters (ICES Area VII) 2015 edible & Spider Crab effort annual limit

Details of the approach to managing the over 15 metre Area VII crab and scallop fishing sector to keep the fishery within EU effort limits.

Defra and MMO officials met with a number of industry representatives with an interest in the area VII crab fishery on 12 November 2014 to discuss a management approach for the fishery during 2015 in line with the Western Waters regime. At this meeting, various management options were considered to ensure that the industry does not exceed the effort limit allocated to the UK under the Western Waters regime.

It was decided that days at sea limits will be set for vessels operating in this area for the full 2015 year. This will be enforced via a licence variation. The 150 day limit will be applicable to all over 15 metre vessels with a shellfish entitlement operating in area VII and targeting crabs under the Western Waters regime.

The MMO will actively monitor days at sea uptake by vessels and a review meeting will take place on 22 July 2015 to evaluate uptake to date and discuss the management approach for the remainder of 2015.

If the UK looks like it will exceed effort limits prior to 31 December 2015 as set by the Commission, then fisheries administrations will be required to close the area VII crab fishery to over 15 metre vessels for the remainder of the year in line with the Western Waters regime.

Crab effort uptake for 2015 (last updated 3 June 2015)


AreaEuropean limit (kilowatt days)Real-time uptake to date (kilowatt days)Percentage of effort used to date
VII543,366149,07227%
V-VI702,292224,77032%

2. Days at Sea Limits


2.1 The maximum number of days a vessel can fish for crabs in ICES Area VII is established in the vessel’s fishing licence.

2.2 Any days remaining at the end of a management period will not be transferred across management periods.

2.3 Days at sea are not transferrable between fishing vessels.

2.4 The number of days spent at sea will be monitored for enforcement purposes by MMO/Devolved Administration offices. However, it is your responsibility to monitor your uptake and be aware of how many days you have available. If you wish to check the information held by the MMO on your vessel’s activity you should contact your local MMO coastal office.

2.5 It is an offence to exceed the maximum number of days at sea established in your vessel’s fishing licence, and action may be taken in accordance the relevant fisheries administration’s compliance and enforcement strategy.

3. Recording of days at sea

3.1 Days at sea are counted in calendar days (midnight to midnight) or part thereof. For example a fishing trip leaving port at 0200h and returning to port at 0100h the following day counts as two calendar days. In comparison, a fishing trip leaving port at 1000h and returning at 1700h the following day is also counted as 2 calendar days.

3.2 Trip data must be recorded in UTC (universal time constant) with no daylight saving adjustment.

3.3 Steaming trips are not counted against a vessel’s days at sea providing that no gear is deployed or hauled, no landings are made and vessel activity is declared as ‘CRU – steaming/cruising’ on the electronic logbook.

3.4 Time at sea will not count against a vessel’s allocation where it comes to the aid of another vessel in need of emergency assistance or because it is transporting an injured person for emergency medical aid. You must advise your port of administration in such cases.

4. Once your allocation of days are used

4.1 Any vessel that has exhausted its allocation of days must cease fishing for crabs in Area VII immediately and return to port. The vessel may then undertake other activities.

See the full story from the MMO here: