Newlyn Fish Market - boats due to land.

Friday, 13 November 2020

Check with cameras for absolute red line.

Looks like Dutch fishermen are gearing up for a showdown with regard to using CCTV aboard fishing vessels as a means of monitoring caches. CCTV is one of several means by which the UK might seek to monitor fishing efforts of EU states within its territorial waters after January 1st when we 'take back control' of our waters:


"Many see Closed Circuit TV camera surveillance (CCTV) as an ideal system for perfecting the control of the landing obligation. This is and will remain absolutely unacceptable for VisNed, precisely because we have practical experience and see that cameras on board a ship cannot be an adequate form of control, certainly not for the landing obligation, for example.

In the monthly consultation on Implementation Agenda Landing Obligation, government, science, regulators and the sector consult on all kinds of policy and practical matters concerning the landing obligation.

All the parties mentioned are convinced that the landing obligation in its current form should never have been introduced because it is unworkable. This landing obligation is neither feasible nor enforceable (by the fishermen) and not enforceable (by the government).

The landing obligation has not yet come to a complete standstill in fishing practice, thanks to the series of exemptions and exemptions. For example, the beam trawl 80 - 119 mm does not have to keep undersized plaice on board and land thanks to an exception due to 'high survival', an exception granted because the Fully Documented Fisheries (FDF) project runs from VisNed.

This project, which involves research into camera registrations, in which seven beam trawlers in the Netherlands participate. The enforceability of the landing obligation remains a problem, but cameras are not a solution for this, at most they can be used as an aid to automate the mandatory registration.

The Netherlands is against the use of cameras as a means of control 

Within Europe (Member States, European Commission, European Parliament and also the European Control Agency), consideration is being given to the (mandatory) use of cameras to monitor what comes on board and whether or not it is stored in the fish hold or discarded.

There is rightly a lot of resistance against this, also from the Netherlands. The government, including the NVWA, sees many (practical) objections to the use of cameras as a means of control, but this should be communicated more clearly in Europe.

NSAC advises on on-board cameras

A focus group from the North Sea Advisory Council (NSAC) has started discussions about the use of cameras as a means of control. The NSAC wants to provide balanced and nuanced advice on this complex subject. An NSAC advice is important because it is a joint advice from fisheries and NGOs.

That is no guarantee for success, but it can make a contribution. In the meantime, EuropĂȘche and the European Association of POs (EAPO) are also working on a joint position paper on the subject of cameras on board. Based on our practical experience, VisNed can make a clear contribution to the discussion about what works and what certainly doesn't work.

Red line

During the last meeting of the Implementation Agenda, the VisNed representation drew a clear red line. If politicians, policy and/or supervision nevertheless make a move in favour of camera surveillance as a means of control, VisNed will pull the plug from the current FDF project with immediate effect, regardless of the consequences for the exemption for the supply of undersized plaice (which in principle runs until 2023).

VisNed wants to contribute with this project to look at improving data collection with the help of FDF, but we are definitely not going to howl with the wolves in the forest.

We are diametrically opposed to the NGOs, policymakers and politicians in Europe who, based on erroneous assumptions, believe that cameras are the ultimate means of monitoring and spying on fishing activities. There can be no doubt and/or ambiguity about this."

Full story from the Visned website.

Another Dutch Brexit related story appeared on the Trouw.nl website today.