North Sea cod certified as sustainable

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1 10 Cod Recovery THE SKIPPER AUGUST 2017 AUGUST 2017 THE SKIPPER Cod Recovery 11 North Sea cod certified as sustainable British fish back with a bang after more than a decade Over a decade since North Sea cod stocks came close to collapse, shoppers and diners can finally buy the popular fish with a clear conscience following the announcement that Scottish and English cod boats, which are members of the Scottish Fisheries Sustainable Accreditation Group, are now MSC certified. Thanks to the enormous efforts of a coalition of fishing organisations with support from supermarkets, seafood brands and the industry body, Seafish, North Sea cod has passed an independent assessment against the MSC s strict standard. The news means that subject to strict traceability requirements North Sea cod can now be sold in supermarkets and restaurants bearing the MSC blue tick label, indicating that it is sustainable and fully traceable. The end of confusion Although cod is one of the most popular fish in the UK we eat nearly 70,000 tonnes of it each year - a YouGov survey carried out for the MSC found that more than one in three UK adults (35%) admitted that they don t know if cod is sustainable or not, and whether people should (or should not) be eating it. Almost three in ten of those surveyed (28%) said they think that cod is not sustainable and that people should actively avoid eating it where possible, but the same number (28%) said they believed the opposite: there are plentiful supplies of cod and it is a sustainable choice of fish. Toby Middleton, MSC Programme Director, North East Atlantic explains: Whole North Sea cod (Gadus morhua) fish on ice - Photo: MSC - Clive Streeter Today s certification marks the end of the cod confusion. If you can see the MSC label on your cod, you know that it has come from a sustainable source. By choosing fish with that label, you will be helping to protect stocks long into the future. North Sea cod s long road to recovery The announcement marks a momentous achievement for the industry. Cod stocks in the North Sea peaked at 270,000 tonnes in the 1970s, when North Sea cod was widely sold and enjoyed. However, stocks fell to just 44,000 tonnes in Since then the industry has worked with the Scottish Government and EU Fisheries Council to agree and implement a Cod Recovery Plan that would nurse the stock back to health. The plan linked the number of days fishing that boats were given to the conservation measures they signed up to. The plan aimed to reduce cod catches by 25 per cent in 2009, followed by subsequent annual reductions of 10 per cent. In response, the Scottish industry closed large spawning areas to fishing and introduced a system of real time closures to protect aggregations while trialling new nets and developing a system of remote electronic monitoring using CCTV cameras on board boats. Mike Park, Chairman of the Scottish Fisheries Sustainable Accreditation Group (SFSAG), comments: This is a massive development for the catching sector and is a testament to the power of collective action. The years of commitment to rebuilding North Sea cod has shown that fishermen are responsible and can be trusted to deliver stable and sustainable stocks. The consumer can now eat home-caught cod with a clear conscience. Toby Middleton continues: This is a huge accomplishment and the perfect example of what the MSC aims to achieve. Thanks to a collaborative, crossindustry effort, one of our most iconic fish has been brought back from the brink. Modified fishing gear, catch controls, wellmanaged fishing practices all these steps have come together to revive a species that was in severe decline. And now shoppers and diners can play their part. By only choosing MSC certified sustainable North Sea cod, we can all help to protect this much-loved fish and ensure it s never at risk again. The Scottish White Fish Producers Association, which represents around 200 fishing boats and 1,400 fishermen, has been at the forefront of industry efforts to restore the cod stock to a sustainable level. Our members have been through a decade of pain to get us to this point so it s hugely satisfying for them to win recognition from the MSC, the custodian of sustainable fisheries, said SWFPA chief executive Mike Park. Scotland has introduced more than 50,000 square miles of closures each year to protect spawning females and aggregations of cod. With MSC accreditation, we are now looking towards the large retailers to show a commitment to sourcing fresh North Sea cod from Scottish markets. SWFPA Chairman Davy Milne added: This has been a long time coming, and is in spite of European regulations not because of them. Scottish fishermen have undergone an immense set of hardships to return cod back to sustainable levels. Our commitment to sustainable harvesting is now a beacon for others to follow. Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen s Federation, said the awarding of MSC status to North Sea cod was a hugely welcome boost to the industry. The determination of fishermen to restore the cod stock has meant they have sacrificed a huge amount to achieve this, he said. They have willingly participated in a comprehensive programme that has included seasonal closures, real-time avoidance and technical measures to eliminate the catching of juvenile cod. And most of these innovatory measures have been created by working fishermen in conjunction with Scottish Government officials from Marine Scotland. Mr Armstrong added: Of course, the work doesn t stop there we continue to engage with government and scientists on further enhancements to fishing gear through the important Gear Innovation and Technology Advisory Group (GITAG). The industry is 100 per cent committed to improving sustainability today, tomorrow, through Brexit and beyond. Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy Fergus Ewing also welcomed the MSC decision, saying: I m delighted that the sacrifices and efforts made by Scottish fishermen in relation to cod stocks have been recognised by the MSC. The fishermen have adapted their methods and introduced a range of innovative new techniques to ensure the recovery of the North Sea cod stock and should be applauded for their determined efforts, creativity and not least resilience on what was an unnecessarily hard road given the constraints of EU s Cod Recovery Plan. Barry Reid - skipper of the Audacious BF83 holds a North Sea cod in Peterhead fish market - Photo:- MSC - Eleanor Church P&O Maritime is a global company providing specialist maritime service solutions through ownership, operation and management of a fleet of specialised vessels for customers long term requirements. The Company are currently seeking to recruit an Instrumentation Technician reporting to the Instrumentation and IT Manager. This is an exciting opportunity to become part of the Instrumentation Team. You will be responsible for the delivery of instrumentation support services onboard the Marine Institute Research Vessels. The role also involves the support of IT and communication equipment, as well as operation, upkeep, maintenance and repair of scientific instrumentation equipment onboard the vessels. This role is for a full time sea going position. INSTRUMENTATION TECHNICIAN Suitable candidate will ideally have the following: Choosing MSC labelled seafood from fisheries, retailers, brands and restaurants guarantees sustainable fishing methods, traceable fish, and helps protect the life in our oceans for generations to come. Industry reaction Scotland s largest fishing association has welcomed the decision by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) to award North Sea cod its gold standard for sustainability. Third Level qualification in Electronic Engineering or Marine Electronics or related fields Three years experience in the test/maintenance of marine/ scientific electronic equipment Seagoing experience Be computer literate and very familiar with PC based systems A dynamic, flexible and operationally focussed individual An ability to work under their own or minimal supervision. An open disposition, good organisational and communication skills For a full job description and to apply for the position please send your updated CV and cover letter to by 25th August 2017 Unloading boxes of cod at Peterhead fish market - Photo: MSC - Eleanor Church Landing cod at Peterhead.

2 12 Regional News THE SKIPPER AUGUST 2017 AUGUST 2017 THE SKIPPER Regional News 13 SHETLAND NEWS by Paul Riddel NEW ADENIA PLANNED BY WHALSAY OWNERS The family-owned Adenia Fishing Company has commissioned a new design for a boat to replace their current vessel which has been sold to Norway. Salt Ship Design has produced plans for a vessel of just under 70m, with a beam of 15.6m, powered by a 7,000hp engine. She will have 10 fish tanks with a capacity of 2,050 cubic metres. The present Adenia (LK193), built in 2003 by Flekkefjord Slipp & Maskinfabrikk AS and lengthened in Gdansk and Skagen by Karstensens in 2015, has been bought by Fosnavaag Havfiske AS. She will depart for Norway in February next year to be repainted red and renamed Nordsjobas. Negotiations are ongoing for a yard to build the new vessel with an expected delivery in Skipper George William Anderson, from Whalsay, who owns the boat with his sons and LHD, said: The sale has been completed and we are working on the plans for the new build at the moment. MEMORIAL TO LERWICK LIFEBOATMAN AND PHOTOGRAPHER IAN LEASK A memorial bench to the late Lerwick lifeboat crewman and photographer Ian Leask was unveiled in the town last month. Mr Leask, a regular contributor of images to The Skipper, died of cancer in February last year. He was 61 and had been a member of the lifeboat team for 27 years since The bench, paid for by the current crew and built and installed by Ocean Kinetics, DITT and Lerwick Port Authority, was unveiled at a short ceremony, which included tributes from local operations manger Malcolm Craig and retired coxswain Hewitt Clark. Ian s sister Pat Leask said her brother would not have believed that the boys would have done this for him and that she did not think they would ever realise what this Memorial Bench in lerwick dedicated to the late Skipper photographer Ian Leask means to us. Ian was pretty quiet, pretty shy, but I don t think he realised what an impression he left on everybody, It was very touching when we found out it was just the boys that had paid for all this themselves, and then the Ocean Kinetics boys helping them. It s just unbelievable, absolutely unbelievable, and we want to thank them all. Mr Leask served as a crewmember, second mechanic and then deputy launching authority until his death. He was awarded a bronze medal for his part in the rescue of the crew of the Green Lily off Bressay in Lifeboat volunteer Marcus Thomason said the crew spoke among themselves and thought the memorial would be a brilliant idea to remember Ian as a valued member of the crew and the community, adding that everybody thought the world of him. NEW PIER FORMALLY OPENED BY SHETLAND MSP The new 16.5 million Mair s Pier in Lerwick, built to serve the fishing fleet along with oil and gas vessels and cruise ships, was formally opened last month by Shetland MSP Tavish Scott. Mr Scott said: Lerwick Port Authority has, through the decades, invested in Shetland s future. New quays, facilities and deeper, sheltered water reflect the needs of larger vessels, the ever-changing oil and gas industry and the importance of seafood to Shetland and the wider Scottish and UK economy. Mair s Pier is testament to the Lerwick Port Authority board and the team who make the Authority New Adenia the successful, growing business it is. It is a strategic investment in Lerwick, and so much more. The authority recognises the maritime world never stands still and ports must adapt and invest in their facilities to compete. Shetland is geographically fortunate - in the right place at the right time when North Sea oil was discovered - and the industry is being served by the new pier. Today, fishing is the islands most important industry. A new fish market providing state-of-the art facilities will complement the new pier. Cruise ships discharging thousands of people to visit what the islands have to offer now have additional berthing. Mair s Pier is the latest major investment by a highly professional and go-ahead port. It will not be the last, and that approach to Shetland s future is why Lerwick will remain a top UK port. The largest single capital investment in the 140-year history of Lerwick Harbour Trust and its successor since 1999, Lerwick Port Authority, it is being used by the fishing industry - white fish and pelagic - and the offshore and cruise sectors. Authority chief executive Sandra Laurenson said: Mair s Pier is a significant addition to our infrastructure and has been well received across several sectors where it will help sustain and grow activity. It is also very much a value-added asset as a catalyst for considerable further development, including a new fish market and fishing industry hub. Mair s Pier is among Lerwick harbour developments backed by Bank of Scotland whose relationship manager Carolyn Martin, said: The The new Mair s Pier Lerwick expansion to Lerwick Harbour will provide a significant boost to the Shetland economy. Bank of Scotland has a long-standing relationship with Lerwick Port Authority and is pleased to be supporting such an important series of projects. The development of the port is part of the authority s longterm strategy to reinforce Lerwick s future and supports future jobs and growth. The project involved land reclamation, construction of an 804-metre deep-water L-shaped quay, and demolition of a smaller jetty and included creating a working area over 1.5 hectares for the fishing fleet and oil vessels. The outer arm creates a dock which will shelter the new market, with construction planned to start this year. The main consultant was Arch Henderson LLP, which operates a Lerwick office, providing full design, project management and cost control, with Shetland civil and marine contractor, Tulloch Developments Limited. Ms Laurenson acknowledged SHOW DATES INT. BRISTOL SEPT 2017 the role of the main contractors, including their innovation and risk reductions, and local subcontractors and suppliers in completing the project on budget. WARNING FROM FISHERMEN ON LIFE- LINE FERRY SERVICE Fishermen in Shetland have warned the Scottish Government that it must take account of the huge growth in landings when it frames the new contract for the islands lifeline ferry service. Whitefish landings surpassed 300,000 boxes in 2013 and have grown steadily since, with almost 14,000 tonnes worth 29 million sold through Shetland Seafood Auction in At the midway point this year, 8,000 tonnes worth 17.5 million had already been sold. And with the UK set to exit the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) this significant upward trend is likely to continue. Simon Collins, executive officer of the Shetland Fishermen s Association, said: As Scottish Government officials start to look towards the tender for the next Northern Isles ferry services contract, they need to reflect on the huge growth in fish landings and the fact that this will continue INT. GALWAY 2-3 March 2018 in the years ahead. Shetland is already the UK s biggest fishing port after Peterhead, and most of our whitefish is exported to the mainland and beyond. Fishing is our biggest sector by far, and with stocks as healthy as they have been for decades and crews investing in the future, Ministers need to recognise the importance of providing plenty of capacity in this vital first link in the export chain. He added: Under the CFP almost 60 per cent of the UK s fish stocks are caught by boats from EU countries; when we resume control of our seas that will no longer be the case. While at this point we would obviously seek to reach access agreements with our fellow Coastal States, we would have first call on quota and would anticipate significant further growth in landings. The Courageous coming into Lerwick harbour with a flock of gulls following as they head towards the market. Photo: Ivan Reid T: (0) M: (0) E: W:

3 14 Regional News THE SKIPPER AUGUST 2017 AUGUST 2017 THE SKIPPER Regional News 15 N.IRELAND NEWS ORKNEY NEWS LO LONDON FISHERIES CONVENTION by Craig Taylor GREEN FISHERY PROJECT The United Kingdom has issued notice that they intend to revoke support of the London Fisheries Convention giving the requisite 2 years notice of intent. The convention dates from 1964 predating the Common Fisheries Policy and was intended as a temporary measure to smooth the transition at the time from a six mile fishery zone to 12 months. The result was a list of access rights for 6-12 mile zone specific to countries, to sea areas and to species allowed to be caught. Arguably the French were the main beneficiaries but various other countries were affected. In the Irish Sea the French, Belgium, United Kingdom & Ireland are all involved. For Ireland access to waters West of Scotland, South of Scotland (in the Irish Sea) around the Isle of Man and the English /Welsh coast from Carlisle to Holyhead are all covered. For the United Kingdom access to waters of Ireland South of Carlingford Lough to the Mine Head on the south coast is permitted. This transitional arrangement is now outdated by time with many of the original fisheries having been lost to events over the time. However, for Northern Ireland there are issues surrounding the Nephrops fishery in the outer Bay of Dundalk where a dependency particularly by the Kilkeel small trawler fleet has established. Failure to accommodate that fleet through the complex maze of Brexit negotiations will make an issue of displacement and imbalance of the existing fleet to available resource. There are similar implications for the Irish Fleet with the UK 6-12 mile limit but with greater distance involved the local implications are possible not so dire. THE FISHERY High summer and Prawns abound. The fishery has fluctuated according to weather and tides. Kilkeel scalloper Jack the Lad, N89 leaving Peel. There have been good results for the larger vessels working on the Smalls grounds but tide is a major factor here and the AIS image shows either a concentrated fleet or empty sea depending on the state of the tide. The quality in terms of size remains acceptable and big grossings are a result with prices holding firm. At the other end of the scale the Clyde has come good with a poor class of prawn and the main incentive to work the Clyde is down to weather making these more sheltered grounds an easier option. Meanwhile, closer to home the Cumbrian grounds have not really shown much promise since April/ May despite some optimistic individuals trying their luck periodically. In the Western Irish Sea there has been a mixed bag. Some vessels are working the inshore grounds with hopper/discs mainly at night for better quality prawns whilst others are working overdays throughout the area with seemingly a fishing everywhere. What is really making the summer though id the prices. Tails are making up to 5.80 per kilo and the whole prawns is similarly making good money obviously dependant on quality. Although there is little fish at this time of the year an abundance of monkfish on the grounds is impacting on quota uptake and Haddock is also appearing through the catches. As far as the whitefish goes interest has tailed off as the summer progresses. Problems with algal bloom has mode detection of the fish problematic and with prawn prices so high vessels have reverted to the prawns and as the whitefish boats tend to be larger the travelling to where the good prawns are is less of an issue and the rewards positive. Up until now there has been a good showing of Hake and Haddock with little (if any) Cod through it though in the latter hauls a showing of Cod was appearing. On the static gear front the high season is only now starting to kick in with brown crab in particular starting to show. It is close season for the pelagic operators so vessel maintenance and holidays are the order of the day until August sees resumption of activity. ICES ADVICE 2018 The ICES science advice on which 2018 TAC s and quotas are set was released on the 30 th June. This was a critical year in terms of Irish Sea advice as it follows a meeting of scientists in Galway in Jan/Feb to evaluate the Irish Sea (ICES VIIa) stocks and benchmark them for future assessments. Following that meeting the quality of data and process was upgraded with some positive results. Irish Sea Haddock was again shown to be in good health and the assessment showed a significant upward recommendation from even the revised 2017 assessment which was a consequence of the earlier Galway meeting. Significantly the present high level of abundance is down to a very strong 2013 year class which may be working through the fishery. Irish Sea Plaice is also showing signs of a high biomass level and the science recommends again an increase for the TAC. The Northern Irish fleet have found the Plaice hard to locate in recent years as the whitefish fleet has declined. Irish Sea Cod is also a positive albeit a cautious one. There is increase in biomass although recruitment is at best modest. Overall an increase in TAC is recommended which might relive the choke threat in the prawn fishery when landings obligation is applied. The star of the report is however. Irish sea (North) Herring. A 70% increase in TAC is recommended from just over 4000 tonnes in 2017 to 7000 tonnes in This has came about practically because the high landing levels of the 1970 s is now discounted as unreliable for several reasons and also, significantly, because the industry science September survey is now accorded more credibility given the consistent results on Spawning Stock Biomass component of the stock. This indicates a change in emphasis from the previous surveys and is to be welcomed as it was initially an industry led initiative. That ends the good news! Irish Sea Whiting & Sole remain at low levels with zero or non zero catch recommendations. There are reported in semi-pelagic trawl fishery a re-appearance of the Jumbo size Whiting but the level of the fishery is so low due to restrictions on vessel numbers involved and the fact that those involved are targeting Hake and Haddock rather than Whiting/Cod that this evidence is anecdotal only. An 18-month project, which aims to develop a number of resources to help local fishermen become more environmentally sustainable, is now underway. The project, run by Orkney Fisherman s Association (OFA), will work across disciplines to develop strategic green fishing options. It is hoped that this will equip the Orkney industry with a set of strategies and priorities to help improve its green sustainable reputation. OFA will be looking to develop a dynamic timetable model showing optimum fishing times/ areas for commercial species, with the idea of moving to better seasonal patterns. They will also be liaising with fishermen on the design and production of a bespoke multi escape panel for crustaceans which is best adapted to fishermen s needs, as well as investigating the carbon footprint of the inshore fishery. During this project funded by European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) through the Fisheries Local Action Group Scheme (FLAG) OFA will be conducting observation tips at sea and interviews with fishermen to gather direct information in order to harness their in depth local knowledge. OFA will be looking to harvest this vast amount of local information and to develop it into a scientific context. Knowledge of fishing grounds built up over generations can be of valuable commercial intelligence, so OFA is seeking as much input from those directly in the fishing industry as possible. Further information on the project can be found by contacting Cara Duncan at OFA at or (01856) NORTH SEA HERRING SURVEY A pelagic trawler and a research vessel were in Scapa Flow recently, preparing to take part in a major fisheries survey in the North Sea. The Fraserburgh registered Sunbeam and the fisheries research vessel Tridens were both at anchor in the Flow recently.the vessels were calibrating their sonar in preparation for heading out to undertake the 2017 North Sea Herring Survey. The Sunbeam was being chartered by Marine Scotland to do part of the survey. The Sunbeam is dwarfed by the Prosafe vessel Safe Boreas currently in Scapa Flow undergoing maintenance. FISHERMEN S MISSION FUNDRAISER The Fishermen s Mission received a huge 1820 boost to local funds thanks to the people on the island of Westray, Orkney, who supported Pierowall Fish and Jacks Chippy on the island who opened for an extra night especially for the fundraiser. Ann Rendall and husband Kevin of the companies, along with Theresa and Chloe Sandison and Jamie Rendall all worked free of charge supporting the National Fish and Chip Day Charity Initiative which took place on Friday June 2. Anne said she was very proud of her young staff for doing so in supporting the good cause. Ann added: Thanks to everyone who helped in anyway to raise a massive 1820 for the Fishermen s Mission. We cooked 162 suppers totalling a The silent auction raised , with raffles and crab claws raising She thanked everyone on the island who took part on the day and before hand, for donating to the various events held in support of the Fishermen s Mission, which she said was a charity which does so much work behind the scenes in fishing communities, including here in Orkney. She thanked local skippers Tommy Tulloch, Heddle Costie and Robbie and Jake Hutchison for kindly donating the top quality seafood which was served on the day, which included fish, scallops and crab, all of which proved very popular indeed. Ann added: Folk were once again very generous in donating all they did, the seafood, and items for the raffle, and silent auction and in buying the suppers. We were absolutely delighted to raise so much money for the Fishermen s Mission. Anne recently presented the cheque for 1820 to joint port officer for the Mission in Orkney, Roy Norquoy.

4 16 Scottish News THE SKIPPER AUGUST 2017 AUGUST 2017 THE SKIPPER Scottish News 17 SCOTTISH NEWS FISHERIES STOCKS ON THE RISE Significantly higher numbers of North Sea cod, haddock and whiting may be available to Scots fishermen next year, according to new scientific assessments published recently. The annual advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) an international network of marine and fisheries scientists helps to inform the fisheries negotiations that take place in the autumn to decide how much quota fishermen will receive in the coming year. This year s advice takes into account changes to discard levels resulting from the phasing in of the landing obligation over the past two years. Some stocks like Norway Lobster and haddock are already fully phased; some like North Sea cod and whiting are partially phased; and others like saithe will be increasingly incorporated in The latest science includes advised increases for North sea cod (27%), whiting (34%), Norway Lobster (7%), saithe (7%) and haddock (30%), while there are advised reductions for other stocks such as hake (-4%). Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity Fergus Ewing said: This advice marks the start of our annual cycle of fisheries negotiations and shows encouraging increases in some of our most valuable stocks for the coming year. While there are some disappointing declines in hake which is an increasingly difficult species to manage, overall these figures confirm we are moving in the right direction. They will be welcome news for the fishing industry with which we will work closely over the summer to help shape our priorities for the autumn talks. Despite the uncertainties of Brexit, the Scottish Government will always stand up for our fishing industry, which too often has been let down by the UK Government. We will be pushing for a negotiating Measuring Haddock at Peterhead fish market Photo Niall Duffy outcome that has Scotland s interests at its heart. UK URGED TO FOLLOW ICELANDIC APPROACH TO FISHERIES The UK should follow the example of its northern neighbours Iceland and Norway when it comes to managing fisheries because they have been far more successful than the EU at conserving stocks and sustaining coastal communities. That s the analysis of an Icelandic expert based on his country s experiences right back to the Cod Wars of the 1970s, as the UK enters detailed Brexit negotiations. Hjörtur J. Guðmundsson said: What Britain can learn from the experience of Iceland and Norway in short is the importance of having full authority over the fishing sector, the importance of sustainable and responsible management and of keeping the domestic fishing grounds as a general rule for local fishermen for the benefit of the whole country. The United Kingdom will, as a sovereign country, have an absolute and undisputed right to a 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) or the median line under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). No traditional fishing rights, real or purported, of other countries can override that, otherwise no country would ever risk allowing fishing vessels from other countries to fish in its waters. He added: Consequently, the EU and its member states have no legal arguments for demands to continue fishing in British waters as before. And they are very well aware of that. Britain s case is very strong. The British people both have strong conservation arguments on their side, like Iceland during the Cod Wars in the latter half of the 20th century, due to the failures of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) but also the sovereign right to a 200-mile EEZ which is today guaranteed by international law. Leaving the EU offers the British government a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fundamentally rethink the way British fisheries are managed, with a long-term view of how the sector may prosper in the future, taking note of the best practices of other countries and ensuring sustainability and the creation of valuable British jobs. Mr Guðmundsson s remarks were made in a paper, Fishing for Freedom: Lessons for Britain from Iceland s fisheries experience, for The Red Cell think tank. Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen s Federation, said: These are exactly the arguments we have been making to our governments, and what better validation of them than the experience of those fisheries nations outside the EU and its disastrous CFP. Iceland and Norway have different but successful fisheries management regimes and a much better record for sustainability that is what we must insist upon for our indigenous industry. Mr Guðmundsson also suggested that the UK may have become too dependent upon the EU market for fish exports, and should seek to widen its access to diverse markets all over the world. Norway, for example, has just agreed a major export deal with China. SCOTTISH FISHERMEN DIVE INTO SCIENCE The cream of Scotland s fishing fleet young and old alike have taken the plunge to learn more about fisheries science and management. 25 of Scotland s talented fishermen gathered at the Thainstone House Hotel in Inverurie near Aberdeen on the 12th- 14th June to meet and learn more about how their fisheries are measured and managed. The course was honoured with a Royal visit as HRH The Prince of Wales - who takes a great personal interest in the importance of helping fishermen understand the science of sustainability dropped by to see how the course was going and to talk to the fishermen about their experiences. The training course called the Business of Fishing was developed by representatives of the Scottish fishing industry under the guidance of international consultants and other partners. It is the first of its kind to run in the UK, and following such a successful pilot, there is demand for the course to run again in The concept and delivery was managed by the charity Fishing into the Future, whose remit is to build prosperous and sustainable UK fisheries. The project is funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund administered by Marine Scotland and Sainsbury s. Mike Park, Chief Executive of the Scottish White Fish Producer s Association said: Fishermen of tomorrow will require a wider understanding of the business of fishing. Husbandry and stewardship of our fish stocks and wider marine ecosystems are now key components of being a professional and successful fisherman. This course provides a great foundation for delivering the key components of knowledge and understanding. Those who attended rubbed shoulders with government officials, leading scientists and internationally renowned leaders in their field as they wrestled with cornerstone concepts of fishery management such as Maximum Sustainable Yield and the practicalities of stock assessments. They came as sceptics and left more supportive of science and management, thanks to a new understanding of the behind the scenes working of other players in the UK s fisheries sphere. Jim Masters, Executive Director of Fishing into the Future, underlined how important new, well-informed, champions for a sustainable fishing industry are, saying Fishing relies on hunting a wild resource. It seems crazy that within this perilous profession fishermen can steam out of port without knowing more about the fish they are catching, or the ecosystems where they live. We hope that through training courses like this we can help build a confident, professionalised industry that is wholly supportive of a sustainable approach to fishing, which makes both financial and environmental sense. Ian Fletcher, a scallop fisherman, commented: My views about scientific stock assessment have changed, from being sceptical to more understanding of why scientists do it the way they do. The Scottish fishing industry has taken many knocks, has seen some hard-times in the recent past, but with stocks rebuilding and management improving, the industry will benefit from a new generation of fishermen who have the tools, language and insights to participate in, and confidently engage with, fisheries science and management. SCOTS AQUACULTURE THRIVING Fish and shellfish farming contribute 620 million to the national economy every year, according to new research. The industry now supports more than 12,000 jobs and Scottish aquaculture production has increased by a third in the ten years to 2015, from 142,000 to 188,000 tonnes, according to the Scottish Government and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) commissioned study. Atlantic salmon production accounts for 90% of all economic impact, supporting 10,340 full-time equivalent jobs and generating 540 million in gross value added (GVA). The contribution of other fish and shellfish species like trout, mussels and oysters is also considered as part of the study. Mr Ewing said: These figures are good news for Scottish aquaculture and show the significant social contributions the industry makes to remote rural, island and coastal areas by supporting high-skilled jobs, diversifying and protecting communities. This research will inform how we continue to grow the industry in a sustainable way, including through the work of the Aquaculture Industry Leadership Group. Charlotte Wright, Chief Executive at HIE, said: HIE has supported the aquaculture industry since its inception and we are pleased to have led on this research along with Marine Scotland. This vitally important industry, including the supply chain, provides much needed job opportunities across Scotland. The report underlines how important these jobs are for rural communities and it also shows that the benefits are felt right across Scotland. Businness of Fishing group Photo Nina Constable We welcome the report s findings which both highlight the significant growth opportunities, and confirm the challenges that must be overcome to realise industry ambitions. The research shows that there is capacity for growth in the industry and we look forward to working with them to achieve this. Stewart Graham, co-chair of the Aquaculture Industry Leadership Group said: We are delighted that this new and updated report confirms that the economic and social impact of aquaculture in Scotland is even greater than previous reports had shown, with 12,000 jobs currently dependent on the sector. The report also confirms that the opportunities which need to be grasped and the challenges which need to be overcome as set out in our 2030 industry strategy have been clearly identified and I am confident that with full stakeholder alignment and collaboration we will deliver on our ambitious growth targets. YOUR INDUSTRY YOUR SHOW Free Seafood Buffet Fri 3rd MONITORING OF MPA S BY FISHERMEN URGED Fishermen can support the monitoring and surveying of some of Scotland s most vulnerable marine habitats as part of a new strategy. The new Marine Protected Area Monitoring Strategy will provide a long-term approach to monitoring Scottish waters, ensuring that detailed information is collected from the MPA network to create a more accurate picture of the health of marine environments. It will also encourage collaborations between marine stakeholders and coastal communities, which will better coordinate existing monitoring activities. The strategy is supported by a new three-year project funded by the European Maritime Fisheries Fund which will offer opportunities for fishermen to gather monitoring data, which will improve the Scottish Government s understanding of marine habitats and the effectiveness of MPA management measures. Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: Marine Protected Areas cover some of our most vulnerable marine environments with many people and communities taking an interest in their protection. A well-managed MPA network requires a focused monitoring programme, which is why I welcome the development of this strategy which clearly sets out our longterm direction and recognises the important role that local coastal communities and stakeholders can play in its delivery. With 31 Nature Conservation MPA s added to the network in recent years and the on-going implementation of fisheries management measures, this strategy is showing just how seriously we take our duty to protect Scotland s rich marine environment and is providing a clear direction for the future. COMMERCIAL FISHING EXPO T: (0) M: (0) GALWAY BRISTOL SAVE THE DATE ABERDEEN INT. GALWAY 2-3 March 2018

5 18 UK News THE SKIPPER AUGUST 2017 AUGUST 2017 THE SKIPPER UK News 19 IRISH SEA COD TURNAROUND ICES have recommened a record 375% TAC increase in this year s scientific advice for Irish Sea cod. So long regarded as a lost cause by quota setters, ICES has dramatically revised its perception of the stock and altered the assumptions that support its model. The advice has shifted from a zero catch in 2012, and a minimal bycatch in 2016, to a healthy allocation in 2018, with the stock considered to be above maximum sustainable yield trigger. For something like 17 years fishermen in the Irish Sea have not been able to square the scientists bleak outlook with their own direct experience. In recent years, ICES has tied itself in knots on Irish Sea cod and established a working group WKIRISH, to try to understand why, even after fishing pressure on cod had been reduced to minimal levels, the stock, according to its assessment model, had not responded by rebuilding. As part of that process of reevaluation, a benchmark review has now come up with this startling but very welcome reversal. This is reflected in this year s ICES advice. Fishermen have a very direct interest in the scientific recommendations that underpin decisions on total allowable catches. These do, after all, to a significant extent determine the industry s earnings in the following year. Because of this level of self-interest, too often in the past their views have been dismissed by scientists, fisheries administrators and ministers. That has been a mistake. It is instructive to reflect on how many times the industry s views have flown in the face of orthodoxy but have proven in the end to be closer to the truth. A few examples: The industry in the early 2000s pointed out that automatic 25% cuts in the TAC required by the EU cod recovery plan to achieve biomass targets failed to take account of the fact that Mother Nature might have other ideas. This is now accepted. They also pointed out that draconian reduction of TACs in a mixed fishery would generate a problem of large scale discarding of mature fish. So it proved to be the case. The case was made that punitive measures would cause significant displacement effects in adjacent areas/fisheries. Many of the management problems we face today have been caused by displacement effects Fishermen opposed effort control as part of the cod recover plan on the grounds that it would generate unhelpful Irish Sea Cod could be back on the menu fishing behaviours. STECF eventually came to the same conclusion: It is now well understood that we can control fishing mortality but not biomass; that once fishing mortality has been reduced it can take some time for stocks to respond; that divergent TACs in a mixed fishery will generate serious levels of discards; that displacement and unintended consequences will follow draconian measures, as night follows day; and that there is not a linear relationship between a reduction in fishing effort and a reduction in fishing mortality. This all suggests that taking the industry s views into account during policy formulation should not be regarded as an optional extra, or consultative lip-service, but a prerequisite for a realistic understanding of the issues and therefore an integral part of a successful fisheries policy. But it is important that we don t throw the baby out with the bathwater. The scientists may be eating humble pie on Irish Sea cod but the general outlook this year on stocks is extremely positive. Hake and North Sea plaice are at levels beyond anything seen in the historic level. Stock after stock is on the up. To quote ICES on the general picture: Over the last ten to fifteen years, we have seen a general decline in fishing mortality in the Northeast Atlantic and the Baltic Sea. The stocks have reacted positively to the reduced exploitation and we re observing growing trends in stock sizes for most of the commercially important stocks. For the majority of stocks, it has been observed that fishing mortality has decreased to a level consistent with Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) meaning levels that are not only sustainable but will also deliver high long term yields. stated Eskild Kirkegaard, Chairman of the Advisory Council of ICES. The position since ICES made this statement, in July 2015, has only got better. In fisheries management terms, that is a sweet place to be. Where we do still have problems, they tend to be those associated, not so much with the science but with the EU management framework: with getting the balance right in mixed fisheries; with the arbitrary timetable for MSY in all fisheries; and with the implementation of the EU landing obligation. (Source: NFFO) ISLE OF MAN TRIALS NEW FISHERIES DATA MANAGEMENT SYSTEM Staff in DEFA Fisheries Directorate are trialling a new fisheries data management system before it is adopted by Fishery Authorities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The new system is the result of a review carried out by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO), the UK Government agency responsible for collating fisheries data on behalf of the UK and the Isle of Man. Updated software and operating systems will improve data management for a wide range of fisheries, including the Island s valuable king and queen scallop fisheries. The development is further evidence of the ongoing importance of the Manx Government s Future Fisheries strategy, with its commitment to sustainable and diversified fisheries and to developing a seafood industry worth around 14 million to the Manx economy every year. Fisheries Directorate staff have worked closely with the MMO, the Welsh Government and Northern Ireland s Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) on the development of the new system, completing many tests and helping to formulate the final system now being trialled. Commenting on the new system, Geoffrey Boot MHK, Minister for DEFA, said Modern technology plays a critical role in the management of fisheries data which in turn underpins our ability to better manage fish stocks. While the system is currently still in testing it is envisaged that the benefits of the new system to the industry, and those wishing to buy and sell fish being marketed for the first time, will include easier access to more detailed information and greater transparency regarding traceability. This new system will assist my staff in analysing data more quickly, helping to better inform our fisheries policies and their enforcement. We should be proud of the part they have played in the development of the new system and the fact that they have been chosen to be the first to use them. Only minor changes have been made to the software on board Manx fishing vessels so fishermen will not see a big difference in how they send data on, for example, where they have been fishing and what species they have caught. Registered Buyers and Sellers of fish on the Island are also required to provide data. All have been visited by DEFA staff, to ensure that they understand the changes that have been made to the system which receives their online data. Tests of the new system were carried out with a representative of an Island based fish processor, to ensure that the new screens were clear and simple to use from their perspective. Representatives from the MMO and DAERA are planning to visit Geoffrey Boot MHK, Minister for DEFA with Manx fisherman rep David Falkner the Island soon, to see the system in use and to learn any lessons before their Fishery Authorities switch to the new system over the next few months. The development costs are being met by the MMO, with funding from the European Union. CODEND MESH SIZE RESULTS IN FINE On 21 June 2017 James West, owner of the vessel Replenish and its master Stanley Ross pleaded guilty to a breach of the Fisheries Act 1981 at Bodmin Magistrates Court. The court heard that in May 2016 when the vessel was fishing in a Biologically Sensitive Area (BSA) in the Celtic Sea targeting nephrops, it was boarded by officers from the Royal Navy vessel HMS Tyne which was carrying out fisheries enforcement duties in the area. During a gear inspection it was found that both port and starboard net codends were within a prohibited mesh size for the BSA, contrary to Section 30(1) Fisheries Act 1982 as read with Article 5(2) of Council Regulation (EC) 494/2002. The vessel owner James West was fined 1,000, with 2, costs and a victim surcharge of 100.The vessel master Stanley Ross was fined 500, with 2, costs and a victim surcharge of 50. A spokesman for the MMO said: Nets used in this kind of fishery can shrink over time; as a result nets that were made in permitted mesh size range may shrink to a size that is considered damaging to juvenile fish stocks. It is the responsibility of the vessel master and owner to allow for this and ensure the gear is correct according to the fishing area the vessel is operating in. The Replenish was fishing in a Biologically Sensitive Area and it is therefore critical to ensure the appropriate fisheries regulations are adhered to in order to protect juvenile fish. This prosecution shows that when they are not the Marine Management Organisation will take the appropriate action. 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