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  1. #981
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    http://www.fishupdate.com/news/fulls...CARDS_BAN.html

    LORDS TO QUIZ ACADEMICS ON THE FISH DISCARDS BAN



    The House of Lords EU Committee will tomorrow question leading academics in marine studies in the final evidence session of their short inquiry into reform of the Common Fisheries Policy and the implementation of a discard ban.

    The Committee hear evidence from Professor Chris Frid, from the School of Environmental Sciences and the University of Liverpool and Professor Jesper Raakjaer from the Department of Development and Planning at Aalborg University.

    The Committee will ask the witnesses about the provisions to regionalise the Common Fisheries Policy and whether they are confident that this will ensure improvements across the EU. The session will also explore what evidence there is to suggest that some fish can survive after being caught and could therefore be thrown back into the sea, and how those circumstances can be taken into account in the new policy. The witnesses will also be asked about the UK and EU research base for fisheries policy making and what the European Commission and Member States could do to support more research in this area.

    The evidence session will start at 11am on Wednesday 17 July in Committee Room 2 of the House of Lords.

  2. #982
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    http://www.fishupdate.com/news/fulls...ic_report.html

    Recovery of our fish stocks confirmed by latest scientific report



    The sustained recovery of many fish stocks in the Northeast Atlantic has been further confirmed by a new report by researchers from the University of Aberdeen and the University of Strathclyde.

    The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) says this latest report underlines the responsible way that our fleet is harvesting fish stocks and the real commitment of fishermen to deliver a sustainable future.

    The study – Reversal of Fish Stock Decline in the Northeast Atlantic - and published in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on July 18, reveals that the status of our fish stocks is improving. The researchers relied on data collected largely by government research institutes, including large programmes at hundreds of fish markets and at sea on hundreds of fishing and research vessels operating every day of the year.

    These data were then analysed and integrated into mathematical stock assessment models and peer reviewed at the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) in Denmark, which recommends catch levels to the European Commission.

    The researchers say they were especially surprised by the sheer number of stocks that have improved since fishing pressure was reduced at the turn of the century. In 2011, for the first time, the majority of fish stocks were being fished sustainably.

    Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation: “I am delighted by this report. It confirms in a rigorous scientific way what our fishermen have telling us for some time - that the NE Atlantic fish stocks are increasing in size and are being harvested sustainably, with fishing pressure now at its lowest level in decades.

    “Much of this has been achieved by the innovation of our fishermen in adopting a range of measures to reduce discards and to protect juvenile and spawning fish. All serious scientific analyses and commentary on NE Atlantic fish stocks are now pointing in the same direction. This will I hope be a refreshing insight for the public, fed until now largely on a diet of stories of negativity and decline.

    “It must not be forgotten the considerable sacrifices made by our fishermen in reaching this stage, with the fleet significantly smaller than a decade or so ago and many boats now struggling for survival. With fish stocks currently increasing and being fished at sustainable levels, it is now more important than ever that the correct management system is put in place to ensure that there is a viable fishing fleet in place to harvest this wonderful resource.”

    This latest report confirms the findings of another study carried out earlier this year by the NAFC Marine Centre’s Department of Marine Science and Technology based in Shetland, which collated and summarised information published by ICES.

    It found that while stocks of some species had declined in the past, most had seen substantial increases over the last few years. It arrived at the same conclusion, that the exploitation rate for most stocks - that is the proportion of the fish that are caught each year - has fallen sharply. For example, the stock of North Sea cod more than doubled in size between 2006 and 2012 while its fishing mortality rate fell by 43 per cent between 2000 and 2011. In fact the fishing mortality rate for North Sea cod was lower in 2012 than in any year since 1966.

    Stocks of some other species have increased to unprecedented levels: the plaice stock in the North Sea for example was larger in 2012 than at any time since at least 1960, having tripled in size since 2004. The stock of hake more than quadrupled in size between 2006 and 2011.

  3. #983
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    http://www.fishupdate.com/news/fulls...s_on_land.html

    Lords committee warns of discard ban at sea leading to discards on land



    The House of Lords EU Committee on Agriculture, Fisheries, Environment and Energy has written to Environment Minister Richard Benyon and the European Commission to warn that unless the EU fish discard ban is implemented effectively there is a risk that discards at sea will simply become discards on land.

    It has suggested there is a particular risk that fish will have to be landed which cannot be sold and which might otherwise have survived if returned to the water.

    The committee sets out a number of areas where further work is required to ensure the discards ban is effectively implemented. These include:

    · Sufficient financial resources for local decision making – The discard ban will rely on a move away from centralised EU decision making to a system of rules that are set specifically for each sea area but, the committee points out, this will require more attention to funding arrangements if it is to work

    · Improving links between marine science research and industry – The committee also calls for better links between academic researchers and the fishing industry to boost research in areas such as identification of species that are likely to survive if returned to the sea after being caught.

    The committee identifies commercial fishing vessels as the best research vessels and asks the Government to consider the possibility of a levy on the fishing industry which can then be used to provide funding for commercial vessels involved in research. The committee also calls on the Government to guarantee public funding beyond March 2014 to support collaborative work between scientists and fishermen.

    · Focus on compliance with the ban rather than heavy handed enforcement – The committee states that engagement with industry on management measures and objectives should lead to effective compliance. Enforcement would remain necessary, though, and can be assisted through the use of incentives, such as additional quota, to have CCTV cameras on board a sample of vessels.

    · Public consumption of a wider variety of species - The committees call on the Government and Commission to identify what action they can take to promote consumption of a wider variety of species, including through the procurement of food for primary school children. Supermarkets, says the committee, should avoid short term promotion campaigns and adopt longer term strategies.

    Chairwoman of the committee Baroness Scott said: “While we welcome the move to implement a discard ban in the EU it will be pointless if it simply moves wastage from sea to land. To ensure that doesn’t happen, the policy must be implemented properly and the fishing industry must be fully engaged in developing the new rules that are required for its implementation.

    “There is evidence that some species of fish stand a good chance of surviving if returned to the sea after being caught. We need further research in this area to ensure the discard ban isn’t counterproductive to improving fish stocks. That research must involve the fishing industry so it produces useful new information and doesn’t become an academic exercise.

    “It is important that all existing rules and regulations are reviewed to ensure that they are compatible with the discard ban. These include rules on the amount of time that vessels spend at sea. Excessive restrictions like that will restrict the flexibility for vessels to move to other fishing grounds if they find, for example, that they are catching too many young fish.

    “The fishing industry is of vital importance to the UK and in some areas is a major employer. We were pleased to hear that the fishing industry are strong supporters of the ban and recognise that compliance with it is good for their futures and for the sustainability of the industry. Clearly, though, implementation of the discard ban must take into account the reality of fishing businesses and how they work. We expect that the Minister and the European Commission will take our concerns into account and we look forward to receiving their response.”

  4. #984
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    http://www.fishupdate.com/news/fulls..._nutshell.html

    Fish stock advice in a nutshell



    The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) has published a popular version of a major amount of its fish stock advice for 2014. The popular version is an easy-to-read, accessible digest of the official ICES advice.

    “The popular advice attempts to reach a broader audience – it describes the fisheries and the fish populations they rely on, using a format that is intended to be accessible for the general public”, explains Anne Cooper, ICES Advisory Programme Professional Officer.

    This digest of the ICES advice is provided for 104 stocks in European waters, including stocks in the Baltic Sea, the Bay of Biscay and Iberian waters, the Celtic Sea, and the North Sea.

    Every year, ICES provides advice to national governments and competent authorities, such as the European Commission (EC), the Helsinki Commission (HELCOM), and the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC), on environmental issues and the status of fish and invertebrate stocks in Northeast Atlantic waters. The authorities use this information to establish fisheries catch allowances and other conservation and management measures.

    Popular advice is published on the ICES website, where further information about the ICES advisory process is also available.

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    http://www.fishnewseu.com/latest-new...emeanours.html

    EU punishes quota misdemeanours
    THE European Commission has today announced deductions from 2013 fishing quotas for those Member States that declared having exceeded their quotas in 2012.



    This yearly deduction exercise allows the Commission to immediately address the damage done to the stocks overfished in the previous year and ensure a sustainable use by Member States of common fishery resources.

    Maria Damanaki, Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, said: "As we now work towards the implementation of the reformed Common Fisheries Policy, our priority is to ensure that the rules are rigorously and fairly enforced for all. I note the reduction in the total amount of overfishing as compared to last year and aim at ensuring a longer term trend in this respect. This will form part of our continued focus on enforcing control provisions, which is crucial to stopping overfishing and achieving the long-term sustainability of our stocks."

    Quota deductions are operated on the same stocks that were overfished in the previous year, with further deductions made for consecutive overfishing, overfishing above 5 % or if the stock concerned is subject to a multiannual plan.

    However, should a Member State have no quota available to payback its overfishing, the quantities will be deducted from an alternative stock in the same geographical area, taking into account the need to avoid discards in mixed fisheries. Deductions on alternative stocks are decided in consultation with the Member States concerned and will be published in a separate Regulation later this year.

    The conservation organisation Oceana supports these deductions, which should help compensate for the damage done to the stocks.


    This year, deductions that include penalties will be applied to 14 Member States for overshooting on the stocks of 36 species, including common species like cod, haddock, herring, hake, plaice, and mackerel. In cases where no available quota is left for the particular stock that was overshot, a similar species will be penalized. Poland, Portugal, Lithuania, Spain, Ireland, and the UK are the hardest hit Member States.

    "This annual reduction, just like the lack of control, is an unfortunate tradition in EU fisheries management," stated Xavier Pastor, Executive Director at Oceana in Europe. "Member States should understand that there are rules to follow not only out of respect for the law they themselves have passed, but also for the good of the resources and the fishing sector."


    For full list of deductions from 2013, see:
    http://ec.europa.eu/fisheries/cfp/fi...s-for-2013.pdf

  6. #986
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    http://www.fishupdate.com/news/fulls...sh_stocks.html

    Analysis of ICES advice reveals optimism for the future of fish stocks



    Seafish has carried out an in-depth analysis of new advice for the Baltic Sea, Bay of Biscay, Celtic Sea, and North Sea fish stocks published by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) in May and June. The industry authority has now published a top-line summary document of the new scientific assessments.

    Tom Pickerell, technical director, Seafish, said: “Our interpretation of the ICES advice is that there is reason for cautious optimism in the industry as we continue to see iconic stocks such as cod in the North Sea move towards recovery. However, it is important that that we continue to improve our knowledge and management of stocks across all areas so that we can reach our goal of a profitable and sustainable industry that works in harmony with the marine environment.”

    The Seafish summary examines the ICES scientific analysis of 117 fish stocks in June 2013. In particular it highlights fishing mortality in relation to maximum sustainable yield (MSY) and the precautionary approach, and stock status in relation to spawning stock biomass. It also references the agreed Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for 2013 compared with the ICES advice on a TAC for 2014. A very simple statement has also been included on the status of the spawning stock biomass in 2013 in comparison with 2012.

    ICES publishes new scientific advice on stock status in June and October each year. This advice is crucial in determining the Total Allowable Catches (TACs) agreed by the European Union in December.

    Tom Pickerell continued: “This ICES advice forms the basis for fish lists and scoring systems, and ultimately in recommendations on which fish to eat or avoid meaning it can have particular relevance for consumers.”

    “We have also captured the ICES commentary on fisheries in the Baltic Sea, Bay of Biscay, Celtic Sea, and North Sea where discards are a particular concern and this is compiled in a separate document.”

    The two summaries are regularly used by the entire fishing supply chain in the UK as well as environmental groups and Government departments with vested interests in securing long term sustainable solutions to fishing.

  7. #987
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    http://www.fishnewseu.com/latest-new...ish-study.html

    Hope spawned by Seafish study

    SEAFISH claims there is scope for cautious optimism over the state of European fish stocks after completing an in-depth analysis of the latest ICES advice for the Baltic, Bay of Biscay, Celtic Sea and North Sea.

    Tom Pickerell, Technical Director at Seafish, said: "Our interpretation of the ICES advice is that there is reason for cautious optimism in the industry as we continue to see iconic stocks such as cod in the North Sea move towards recovery. However, it is important that that we continue to improve our knowledge and management of stocks across all areas so that we can reach our goal of a profitable and sustainable industry that works in harmony with the marine environment."

    The Seafish summary examines the ICES scientific analysis of 117 fish stocks in June 2013. In particular it highlights fishing mortality in relation to maximum sustainable yield (MSY) and the precautionary approach, and stock status in relation to spawning stock biomass. It also references the agreed Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for 2013 compared with the ICES advice on a TAC for 2014. A very simple statement has also been included on the status of the spawning stock biomass in 2013 in comparison with 2012.

    ICES publishes new scientific advice on stock status in June and October each year. This advice is crucial in determining the Total Allowable Catches (TACs) agreed by the European Union in December.

    Pickerell continued: "This ICES advice forms the basis for fish lists and scoring systems, and ultimately in recommendations on which fish to eat or avoid meaning it can have particular relevance for consumers.

    "We have also captured the ICES commentary on fisheries in the Baltic Sea, Bay of Biscay, Celtic Sea, and North Sea where discards are a particular concern and this is compiled in a separate document."

  8. #988
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    http://www.fishupdate.com/news/fulls...d_of_ICES.html

    Scottish environment minister meets head of ICES



    The Scottish cabinet secretary for rural affairs and environment, Richard Lochhead MSP last week paid a visit to ICES Secretariat.

    As part of a meeting involving ICES general secretary Anne Christine Brusendorff and head of advisory programme, Poul Degnbol, Mr Lochhead discussed several issues related to ICES role as provider of the science and advice that go towards ensuring the sustainable use of our oceans.

    Mr Lochhead pointed especially to the importance of involving fishermen, both in the development of the science and when explaining the basis for advice given.

    He stressed the importance of outreach and communication, acknowledging the scientific role of ICES and the need to have a scientific basis for policy discussions.

    He also spoke about initiatives in Scotland that have been set up to enhance dialogue and improve the knowledge base for fisheries management.

    The meeting also included a conversation on how ICES has developed transparency and dialogue with stakeholders, and all present agreed on the meetings' usefulness in promoting communication and dialogue between policy makers and scientists, and to support even better informed decision-making in future.

  9. #989
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    http://www.undercurrentnews.com/2013.../#.Uh9zCn9qOwF

    Mackerel stock could be at historic high: Survey estimates numbers at 8.8 million tons


    August 29, 2013, 8:40 am
    Eva Tallaksen

    Scientists are working around the clock in Copenhagen to possibly produce an abundance estimate of the Northeast Atlantic (NEA) mackerel stock, as an initial survey has pinned levels at a historical high, and more than 60% above last year’s estimates.

    Some 40 scientists are currently crunching numbers in the Danish capital to figure out whether they can produce a reliable estimate of the stock that would give a basis for a 2014 quota advice from ICES, the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas.

    If no reliable abundance estimate can be produced during the assessment meeting, researchers, as well as managers and fishermen, may have to wait until February 2014 before running a new mackerel assessment, Leif Nottestad, researcher at the Norwegian Institute for Marine Research (IMR), told Undercurrent News.

    That is when two new methods used to evaluate the stock will be assessed by independent researchers from across the world, and hopefully be accepted as during the evaluation, he said.

    One of these methods was used this summer, by a swept-area based pelagic trawl and ecosystem survey that covered 3.2 million square kilometers — roughly a third of Europe’s total surface area — with four vessels over five weeks. The survey’s results gauged that the mackerel stock is at 8.8 million metric tons.

    This translates into “a record-high estimate for a population with [a] historically large extent”, said Nottestad.

    It is also a leap from last year’s estimate, which pinned the biomass at 5.1m tons. The two estimates are not directly comparable, as this year’s survey covered more than twice the area covered last year. ”That said, there has probably also been a significant increase in the mackerel stock from 2012 to 2013.”

    According to the survey, a new strong 2010 generation contributed to around 20% of numbers, followed by numerous classes of 2006, 2007 and 2011, contributing about 15% each. The 2008 cohort was also well represented with 12% in the number of haul.

    Despite its reach, the study did not cover the whole area in which the stock is now spread out — it now reaches corners of Greenland waters in the Irminger Sea for instance — but it covered the largest part of it, said Nottestad.

    The survey involved effort from Iceland, the Faroe Islands and Norway. Greenland, which has reported higher mackerel levels in its waters, and indicated it is interested in getting its share of the North East Atlantic stock, is also likely to join the scientific efforts next year.

    However, the survey’s results can not yet be used to set an ICES advice as the method it used, pelagic swept area trawling, is not yet recognized and approved by ICES for evaluating the mackerel stock. The method will be evaluated in February, alongside a second method, which estimates the stock based on a new automated radio-frequency (RFID) tag-recapture methodology.

    Both these methods will be evaluated in February next year, by independent researchers from across the world, said Nottestad.

    “The overarching goal is to get the swept-area trawling and tag-recapture methods accepted at the Benchmark to measure the spawning stock and possibly to create a mackerel recruitment index on an annual basis.”

    In the meantime, researchers are now going through the results of another international survey, the mackerel egg survey, involving several countries which calculated the stock size based on the numbers of mackerel eggs.

    The international mackerel egg survey is at present the only fishery-independent method that is currently recognized by ICES to assess the mackerel stock. “We are truly at crossroads right now. We are working 24/7, and there probably won’t be much rest before February,” said Nottestad.

    Despite being a highly valuable stock, mackerel surveys using the accepted ICES egg survey are only carried out every three years. “For the most important stock in the Northeast Atlantic, we have at present very limited scientific basis,” said the researcher.

    The desire to benchmark two new methods was driven out of a need for more reliable and precise estimates of how much mackerel there is at present in the Northeast Atlantic.

    That is not a straight forward and simple task to say at least, said Nottestad. ”We need to increase the robustness and precision of our estimates and include annual abundance estimates hand in hand with tri-annual egg surveys. The mackerel stock is immensely important, both economically, and ecologically — it has a huge impact on the rest of the ecosystem. A solid scientific basis is essential to provide reliable advice to the managers on status of the stock and quota levels.”

    Both the swept area trawl method and the tagging-recapture methods are already used in other stocks, for groundfish species and Atlantic bluefin tuna respectively, for instance.

    “We hope to get accepted and use all three scientific methods for abundance estimation in the very near future. The mackerel deserves the best” said Nottestad.

    The results will most likely be eagerly awaited by the industry. In Norway, some fishermen recently complained that the mackerel quota has been kept too low for several years, damaging other fish stocks such as herring.

    “The [mackerel] quotas have been set to low over many years. That’s what we believe because we have observed a high amount of mackerel on fishing grounds where there normally should not be any mackerel,” Kjell Bjornar Bakken of Nordland Fylkesfiskalag told the Norwegian broadcaster NRK in July.

    Rumors are also flying around that Norway and the EU might decide to increase their mackerel quota this autumn, said one industry source. A representative from Norway’s fisheries and coastal affairs ministry said no negotiations are taking place between the EU and Norway to increase the mackerel quotas.

  10. #990
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    http://www.fishupdate.com/news/fulls...s_suggest.html

    North Atlantic stocks at historic high, researchers suggest



    A NORWEGIAN research expedition has found that North Atlantic mackerel stocks could be at an historic high and it has also reported an increase in Norwegian spring-spawning herring, compared to this time last year.

    The acoustic research, based on trawl areas in the Norwegian sea, and adjacent seas and coastal areas, was carried out by Norway's Institute For Marine Research over the past two months. The researchers now estimate that the current mackerel population in the North East Atlantic region is close to 8.8 million tons.

    IMR researcher Leif said: "This is a record high estimate for a population with a historically high range. A similar expedition last year recorded a population estimate of 5.1 million tons." Although, IMR researcher Leif Nøttestad said the two estimates were not directly comparable. But this year's research has been thorough and over a wide area of ocean. The team found a new strong 2010 year class contributing about 20 per cent of the total mackerel stock followed by numerous year classes of 2006, 2007 and 2011 which contributes about 15 per cent of the total stock.

    The 2008 year class was also well represented with about 12 per cent of the stock. Leif Nøttestad stressed there was still some way to go before the final population estimate for mackerel becomes clear. The eco-system survey has now been presented to ICES, the International Council For the Exploration of the Seas which is to gather in Copenhagen to review the latest data on mackerel and other widely travelled fish species. The same acoustic research found estimates of Norwegian spring-spawning herring showed an increase from July to August 2012. The data is already being highlighted in the Icelandic media and it could be used by Iceland and the Faroe Islands to justify their own self-declared large mackerel quotas.

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