Wednesday, 14 October 2020

Calling all SW trawler skippers - Cefas needs you!

 Are you an otter trawl skipper in the southwest? 

CEFAS are looking for skippers of otter trawlers to take part in their scientific project, looking at catch data.

From 2021, as an independent coastal state, the UK will be able to make decisions about fisheries management which are better tailored to the needs of UK fisheries. To achieve this, we need accurate data upon which to base management decisions and we believe increased engagement with the fishing industry will accomplish this. 

Cefas is currently inviting skippers of otter trawlers working in the southwest to participate in a new scientific project which is focussed on using skipper’s catch data. These data will be verified using remote electronic monitoring (REM) technology, an integrated system of cameras and sensors, to improve our understanding of catch composition in this fishery. 

This project will complement the data collected by the Observer Programme to provide a more detailed regional picture. Through this collaboration, the data we collect will support the UK position in future annual fisheries quota negotiations, with the aim that resulting quotas should better reflect the catches available to the southwest otter trawl fleet. 

The data will also be used to scrutinise the effectiveness of technical measures inherited from the CFP, and to develop measures that are better suited to UK fisheries. The data from this project will not be attributed to individual vessels and will not be used for enforcement monitoring. 

A collaborative project using this technology was recently completed, which improved data on south west haddock catches and was used in the stock assessment. Initially, we are looking to work with the SW otter trawl fishery, where there is currently a demand for data to support decisions, but we aim to roll out similar projects to other English fisheries. 

If you are interested in being part of this project or would like to know more, please contact the project team: 

Sarah Walmsley (01502 527790)
Rebecca Skirrow (07876 398192)

If you have broader thoughts or concerns on working with CEFAS, data collection, interpretation/use of data and how it's used, then please let us know. DEFRA has been clear that future fisheries management will be based on evidence and how we provide/contribute to that will be important.