View Full Version : Area VII Scallop fishery to close immediately

Davie Tait
30th September 2011, 15:18

Friday, 30 September 2011 10:26

FISHERIES administrations met with a number of producer organisations (POs) and other bodies interested in the Area VII Scallop fishery at the end of August, according to the Marine Management Organisation (MMO).

The MMO explains that effort in this fishery is limited (along with a number of other fisheries) by the Western Waters effort regime (Council Regulation (EC) No 1415/2004). The UK limit for 2011 is 3.3 million kilowatt days. Current projections show a likelihood of exceeding this total, by approximately 0.85 million kilowatt days.

The MMO continues: “Administrations have tried to manage this position by arranging appropriate international swaps with other member states to bring in the effort required. At this point, however, the negotiations have not been concluded. As negotiations develop, administrations will approach POs to request donations of any quotas which they could offer to facilitate potential swaps.

“Given the developing situation administrations have concluded that it is now necessary to temporarily close the fishery. This will affect vessels of 15 metres and longer. This is being done because consultations with interested parties have suggested that a planned, temporary closure is preferable to a continuation of fishing until the effort is exhausted. It is also felt that such a continuation of fishing will very likely rule out any landings in the commercially important pre-Christmas period.

“A closure will be enforced by the administrations from 2 October. The fishery will reopen if it appears that it can remain open for the rest of the year. Available data currently indicates that the fishery could be reopened around the end of October, although the date will be later if effort figures show higher than expected uptake. Equally, if effort is lower than expected or we acquire effort through a swap in the meantime, we may be able to reopen the fishery earlier. We will keep you informed of developments.”

“The current progress with international swaps with other member states is:

· France proposed a swap where we would give them gill net effort in exchange for scallop was withdrawn by them. We have asked what they would require in exchange for the scallop effort (again offering the gill net effort and also deep sea) but we have not yet had a response, and we are currently progressing this further.

· Spain have tentatively offered some VIII scallop effort, contingent on our taking it in area VIIId and negotiations in this regard continue.”

· Northern Ireland have not indicated their view on the proposed swap and we are in correspondence with them.
The Netherlands have responded to our request with a proposal centered around 2011 North Sea plaice, or 2012 North Sea plaice, skates and rays, or demersal effort. We are exploring this option currently and are hoping it will yield effort. However, it will not be possible to complete this process in time to avoid the closure. It may be that, if successful and comprising sufficient volume, this swap could result in the fishery opening sooner than anticipated.