Urgent Fisheries Management Measures
At its meeting on 28th January 2015 the Authority considered proposals for the introduction of management measures in both the whelk and sea bass fisheries.
The quantity of whelk landed within the district has been increasing since 2010 and analysis of data from 2014 identified that whilst effort (number of vessels in the fishery) has increased dramatically the catch per vessels has reduced. This is an indication that stocks are in danger from over-fishing.
Having considered the matter the Authority determined to introduce urgent management measures by way of an emergency byelaw.
Proposals for the measures involve the introduction of a permitting scheme with the following being considered:
Permits only available to vessels that have landed whelks in the district in the years 2010-2014 (inclusive)
Requirement to provide information such as number, location and soak time of pots as well as landing figures
Introduction of a pot limitation for each vessel
Requirement to mark gear
Increase in landing size, possibly to 65mm
Introduction of minimum spacing for sorting gear
The detail of the management measures is currently being developed in consultation with the industry. Those wishing to contribute to the consultation should contact the Eastern IFCA office.
It is widely acknowledged that bass stocks are under pressure and that urgent measures are needed to avoid long term damage to the fishery.
In June 2014 ICES published advice for European sea bass in Divisions IVbc, VIIa, and VIId–h (Irish Sea, Celtic Sea, English Channel, and southern North Sea), which called for an approximate 80% reduction in fishing mortality. In January 2015 the EU introduced an immediate ban on pelagic trawling in the Channel, Celtic Sea, Irish Sea and southern North Sea until the end of the spawning season (30th April 2015). Other measures are also being considered, including limiting commercial catches, an increase in MLS and the introduction of a bag limit for recreational fishers.
Having considered the matter members of the Authority determined to introduce a prohibition of recreational netting activities and the instigation of regional Bass Nursery Areas by means of an emergency byelaw. This is subject to legal advice on the suitability of using the emergency byelaw process under section 157 Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009.
The detail of management measures has yet to be developed and anyone who wishes to contribute to what will be a limited consultation should contact the Eastern IFCA office.