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  1. #121
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    http://www.fishupdate.com/news/fulls...ish_talks.html

    Norway calls for urgent fish talks



    THE Norwegians have issued an invitation to conclude coastal state agreements on blue whiting and Norwegian spring spawning herring for 2014.

    Despite several rounds of negotiations, there are no coastal state agreements in place for 2014 for neither blue whiting nor Norwegian spring spawning herring. Norway has been ready to conclude both agreements since last autumn.

    The negotiations have, however, been repeatedly postponed by the EU who has not been willing to finalize the discussions on the management of these stocks before the conclusion of a mackerel agreement.

    After the last postponement, required during the negotiation round 4-6 March, Norway has twice proposed that the parties resume the blue whiting and herring negotiations. Russia, Iceland and the Faroe Islands have replied positively to the Norwegian proposal.

    The agreements on blue whiting and Norwegian spring spawning herring both include bilateral agreements on zonal access.

    Whereas the blue whiting agreement implies zonal access for Norway to EU and Faroese waters, the herring agreement opens up for zonal access for all the other parties to Norwegian waters.

    Hence, the benefit of zonal access provides an obvious link between the two agreements. To provide for equal opportunities and advantages, the two agreements have for a number of years been signed at the same time.

    The blue whiting fisheries take place mainly early in the year, and more than half of the Norwegian quota has already been caught.

    It is therefore vital that an agreement for 2014 is concluded well before the fishing season is over. To provide for at least a minimum agreement Norway has now suggested that the parties conclude a deal by mail within the coming days.

    Such an arrangement would be accompanied by an agreement on Norwegian spring spawning herring, thus opening up Norwegian waters for the other parties.

    If the parties should not agree on a blue whiting arrangement very soon, the zonal access to Norwegian waters for herring would have to be adjusted accordingly.

  2. #122
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    http://www.fishingforthetruth.co.uk/fishing-future/

    How the discards ban could spell the end of family owned fishing vessels

    Posted on March 25, 2014 by fishing4thetruth in Cod, Discards, General News, Pelagics, Tacs and Quotas

    The following article by Bertie Armstrong, chief executive, Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, was published in The Buchan’s Observer’s annual Fishing Review for 2014. In it, he warns that if the forthcoming discards ban is implemented badly, it could spell the demise of traditional family owned fishing vessels.

    There is no business quite like fishing, and as each year passes, the challenges facing our crucial sector seem to gather pace with frightening speed.

    The next few years are likely to be particularly fraught, most notably because of the introduction of the discards ban, or ‘land-all obligation’. For our mackerel and herring fishermen it will come into force on 1 January 2015, and for most other fishermen it will be gradually phased in over the following few years, with all species covered by 1 January 2019. Those representing our interests supported and signed up for this – and now we have to face the consequences.

    The challenges of making the discards ban a reality in the timescale will vary by fishery. A few, like the creel sector and some specific areas in the prawn fisheries already have low discards and will encounter less difficulty. The real struggle will be in the mixed fisheries pursued by the whitefish fleet and most of the North Sea prawn fleet. Here, the question of what to do with “choke species” – the point where an individual vessel runs out of its lowest quota in the mix and has to stop fishing altogether – is no closer to an answer than it was when first posed six or seven years ago.

    We have several mitigating factors – some progress on selectivity, the prospect of quota uplift, various flexibilities in the new Common Fisheries Policy regulation, but we still have no clear vision about how the ban can be implemented without radical changes in the worst-affected fleets. If we do nothing, the default radical change will be very significant consolidation of those fleets, moving away from the present Scottish model of family and small consortium ownership of vessels with a strong local attachment. Instead, there will be a much smaller number of much bigger vessels, each coping more easily with the discard ban given the flexibility of a proportionally greater access to quota and under a different ownership model. It may be that a degree of consolidation is simply unavoidable, but now is the time when the choices facing the industry must be urgently addressed to make sure that we drive those choices rather than the other way round.

    A recent tripartite agreement between the EU, Norway and the Faroese brought at least a partial agreement on the long-standing mackerel dispute and this in turn finally brought around an agreement between the EU and Norway on catching opportunities in the North Sea, including a 5% increase in the cod quota.

    Many of the quota allocations just agreed for the North Sea are in line with long-term management plans. We had hoped that there would have been a bigger increase in the North Sea cod quota, but at least the proposed cut has been successfully fended-off. A cut in the cod quota at this stage would have made a mockery of the European Commission’s commitment to end discarding as it would only have led to fishermen dumping good quality marketable fish overboard, given the abundance of the stock. The science shows that a 5% increase in the cod quota will lead to a significant increase in the stock over the coming year.

    The recovery of North Sea cod is a remarkable success story but there needs to be a sensible long-term approach to the management of the stock that recognises that biomass is increasing, fishing pressure is falling and that the stock is being harvested sustainably.

    But against this complicated and difficult background, there is also much to be encouraged by. Take the public perception of fishing as an example. In recent years it has come under unprecedented attack by ill-informed journalists and armchair environmental experts. We’ve all seen the headlines about their only being ‘100 adult cod left in the North Sea’, when the actual figure was over 20 million. And then there was ‘Hugh’s Fish Fight’ on Channel 4, which again vilified fishermen.

    Of course the truth is very different, and indignant fishermen rose up against these inaccuracies, and guys like Peter Bruce of the Budding Rose and many others Tweeted and Facebooked their way to putting the record straight. The SFF also launched our own website, www.fishingforthetruth.co.uk, which contains a whole host of information on fisheries and how our fishermen are working towards a sustainable future. And all these actions are working, with the most recent ‘Hugh’s Fish Fight’ programme providing a much more balanced picture, recognising the hard work of our fishermen.

    The truth is that the majority of our fish stocks are recovering, thanks in large part to the pioneering efforts of our fishermen to develop selective gear, observing closed areas to fishing to protect spawning and juvenile fish, along with many other measures. This is all positive news, but there also needs to be a structure put in place that ensures there is a future for fishing, and which encourages youngsters to enter our great industry.

    For that to be achieved, there needs to be much greater recognition from the EU and our national governments of the complexities of fishing and the need to develop much more sensible and coherent fisheries management measures that actually work in practice, rather than just look good on paper. And how do you do that? Well, there is only one way – work and consult closely with the people who understand fishing the best – the fishermen themselves.

  3. #123
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    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/d...lish-fishermen

    Discards ban – next steps for English fishermen



    New plans have been set out today to help English fishermen adapt to the discards ban and put an end to the wasteful practice of throwing perfectly good fish back into the sea.

    The proposals have been set out by the Fisheries Minister, George Eustice in one of three consultations on the implementation of the EU’s reformed Common Fisheries Policy.

    Defra has proposed how the new system of managing quota can be used to help fishermen adapt to the discards ban, and benefit from the extra catch they land.

    Fisheries Minister, George Eustice said;

    The discard ban is one of the most important changes to fisheries management in the last decade.

    We fought hard to put an end to the wasteful practice of throwing fish overboard.

    Now we must focus on implementing the discards ban in a way that will work well for English fishermen and help them to profit from the extra catch that they land.

    A second consultation has been launched on the European Maritime Fisheries Fund, which is used to fund projects aimed at helping fishermen to fish more sustainably, aid adaptation to new fisheries regulations and contribute to economic growth.

    The third consultation will look for views on the best way to introduce mandatory labelling of fish with information about its species, origins, and the processing or handling the product has undergone from the moment it was landed to the point at which it reaches our plates.

    The discard ban will apply to ‘pelagic’ fish such as mackerel and herring from 2015, and be rolled out to other species in 2016.

    The three consultations covering the discards ban, the European Maritime Fisheries Fund and marketing standards and labelling requirements for fishery and aquaculture products

    All three consultations close on 12 May.

  4. #124
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    Agreement on blue whiting TAC

    http://www.fishupdate.com/news/fulls...iting_TAC.html



    AN agreement was reached on Friday by the Coastal States on blue whiting and Atlanto-Scandian herring in the north-east Atlantic for 2014.

    The EU, the Faroes, Iceland and Norway have agreed a blue whiting TAC of 1.2 million tonnes, with the EU receiving a quota of 331,348 tonnes – almost double the 2013 level.

    As part of the arrangement, the Coastal States have also agreed to coordinate research into assessing and managing blue whiting stock.

    The 2014 TAC level for Atlanto-Scandian herring, split amongst the EU, Iceland, Norway and the Russian Federation is 418,487 tonnes, of which the EU quota is 27,244 tonnes.

    The Faroes were not part of this agreement, although the Coastal States agreed to set aside a quota of 21,594 tonnes for them – a figure based on the 2007 sharing agreement.

  5. #125
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    English response to discards ban

    http://www.fishupdate.com/news/fulls...cards_ban.html



    NEW plans to tackle the impending discards ban were unveiled yesterday by the Fisheries Minister, George Eustice.

    The proposals have been set out in the first of three consultations on the implementation of the EU’s reformed Common Fisheries Policy.

    The plans – proposed by Defra – are aimed at helping English fishermen adapt to the discards ban, which are designed to stop the wasteful practice of dumping good fish back into the sea.

    George Eustice said: ‘The discard ban is one of the most important changes to fisheries management in the last decade.

    ‘We fought hard to put an end to the wasteful practice of throwing fish overboard. Now we must focus on implementing the discards ban in a way that will work well for English fishermen and help them to profit from the extra catch that they land.’

    The second consultation will look at how fishermen can fish more sustainably and adapt to new fisheries policy, and a third consultation will examine views on the best way to approach the mandatory labelling of fish.

    The discards ban will apply to pelagic fish from 2015, and in 2016 it will be widened to include other species.

  6. #126
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    http://www.fishnewseu.com/44-latest-...card-plan.html

    Defra’s discard plan

    DEFRA has launched a consultation on the implementation of the proposed pelagic landing obligation, also known as the discard ban, in a move that has been welcomed by Seafish.

    Seafish has worked closely with industry in the run up to this consultation, through a range of projects and initiatives, as well as the Seafish Discard Action Group (DAG). The organisation views the consultation as an important opportunity for industry to offer their comment, opinion and insight on decisions that will be integral to their future operations.

    At the last meeting of the DAG in March, the group received a presentation from Defra on the proposals around the consultation which has since been disseminated across industry in the UK, and England in particular.

    Positive steps have already been taken by DAG and Seafish in looking at new gear technologies and developments to assist industry through the implementation of a discards ban and this work is ongoing. As part of this work, the Seafish Economics team has recently produced a comprehensive study on the potential economic impacts of the landings obligation.

    Seafish encourages all industry members to respond to this consultation.

  7. #127
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    http://www.fishnewseu.com/46-latest-...f-fishing.html

    Stevenson MAPs out the future of fishing

    AN EU Task Force co-chaired by Struan Stevenson, Senior Vice President of the European Parliament's Fisheries Committee, has delivered its final report on the eventual introduction of multiannual plans (MAPs) under the new CFP.

    Originally established during the Lithuanian presidency of the European Council in September 2013 and borne out of a dispute between the Council and European Parliament over power-sharing agreements in the determination of fishing opportunities in EU waters, the Task Force has agreed a comprehensive management plan for single and multi-species fisheries.

    Nearly all fish stocks and fisheries are managed by way of a MAP, which define the goals for stock management. MAPs under the new Common Fisheries Policy now include a target of fishing at maximum sustainable yield (MSY) as well as deadlines to reach that target.

    A dispute had arisen between the Council and Parliament over whether decisions concerning the management and content of MAPs should be taken solely by the Council or completed through the co-decision process involving both the Council and Parliament. These diverging views have meant that since 2009, proposals for new MAPs or amendments to existing plans have not progressed.

    A case is currently before the European Court of Justice (ECJ) that will resolve this dispute and the Task Force's recommendations will not override this decision. Its purpose instead was to try and find a middle ground that would complement any future ECJ ruling and allow work on MAPs to begin immediately.

    Speaking from Brussels, Struan Stevenson said: "The Task Force was charged with finding a pragmatic way forward and to pave the way for the essential development of MAPs under the newly reformed Common Fisheries Policy. MAPs are crucial to managing the long-term sustainability of European fish stocks as well as being of vital importance to the financial security of fishermen. They need measures in place to be able to plan ahead and our ground-breaking agreement in the Task Force will pave the way for the implementation of new-look MAPS.

    "The Task Force scored a major breakthrough in November last year with an initial agreement affecting future long-term plans for single species, pelagic stocks. Today's agreement on multi-species mixed fisheries means the annual gladiatorial battle between EU Fisheries Ministers to thrash out Total Allowable Catches (TACs) and quotas for the year ahead is nearing an end. Fishermen will soon have the confidence of knowing what they are allowed to catch for up to five years or more, enabling them to borrow capital from the banks to build new vessels or modernise existing ones.

    "This is an important step forward for the EU, for our fishing industry and I commend all the Task Force's members for their patience and perseverance throughout this process."

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    http://www.fishnewseu.com/scottish-n...-for-2014.html

    ICES advises increased mackerel catch for 2014

    THE International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) has released updated advice for Northeast Atlantic mackerel in 2014, increasing the suggested Total Allowable Catch by up to 13 per cent on the previous advice.

    This brings the catch up to between 927,000 tonnes and 1,011,000 tonnes.

    A statement from ICES said: "The Northeast Atlantic mackerel advice for 2014, which ICES released in October 2013, was issued as an interim measure. The advice could not be based on the current management plan because the analytical approach used could no longer be supported.

    "In February 2014, a benchmark of the methodology was carried out and a new assessment approach was developed. Based on this, ICES has updated the 2014 advice for Northeast Atlantic mackerel which is now based on the management plan.

    "Advice for Icelandic Capelin in 2015, as well as advice related to the impacts of the implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive on marine mammals, has also been released this week."

    Full details of the updated advice can be found here : http://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publica...pdate_2014.pdf

  9. #129
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    Discards ban not turning point for fishing says NFFO Chairman

    http://www.fishupdate.com/news/fulls..._Chairman.html



    THE real turning point for the Common Fisheries Policy was not the discards ban announced last June, but rather happened more than a decade ago.

    This was the view of Paul Trebilcock, the outgoing chairman of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations, in his final speech before taking over as NFFO president.

    Trebilcock said that the discards ban has been portrayed as a turning point in the history of European Fisheries.

    ‘It's true that the EU landings obligation/discard ban, the centrepiece of the reform, will involve a radical re-orientation of arrangements that have been in place since the CFP came into force 30 years ago.

    ‘At this stage there is a great deal of uncertainty about what the landings obligation will actually mean in terms of vessel operations and viability.

    ‘Equally, we don't know what the new regime will mean for us in terms of quota management, or technical measures, the availability of exemptions, enforcement or additional reporting requirements.

    ‘Worryingly, we don't know whether the change will mean lower or higher fishing mortality. Working through these issues will be central to the Federation's work in the next eighteen months and beyond.

    ‘However, despite these changes, there is a much more significant turning point in the CFP and it is reflected vividly in the ICES scientific advice.

    ‘The real turning point in European fisheries came in the year 2000, insofar as the North East Atlantic is concerned. The dramatic fall in fishing mortality from the year 2000 is by far the most significant factor in shaping our future as an industry and as a fisheries policy.

    ‘After more than 70 years the increase in fishing mortality and fishing pressure had been dramatically reduced.’

    Trebilcock continued: ‘There are multiple causes for this radical change. For the demersal fisheries, the painful measures taken to rebuild the cod stocks will have played a central part.

    ‘But landing controls, better selectivity, industry mindset, collaboration between scientists and fishermen, long term management plans and capacity reduction, along with twenty or thirty other factors, have all contributed.

    ‘Probably the most significant has been the reduction in the size of the fleets.

    ‘This change carries the most profound consequences. Stocks are rebuilding, some spectacularly, such as North Sea plaice and Northern hake. In the North Sea, natural mortality is now more significant than fishing mortality.’

    This meant that predation patterns were much more significant than previously and this posed major new challenges for fisheries management, he contended.

    All of this needed to be taken into account in the development of the new generation of multi-annual management plans.

    A number of issues were tackled in Trebilcock’s outgoing speech, including the controversy over the switch to electronic logbooks and the future of the shellfish sector which he described as vitally important.

    ‘The Federation's Shellfish Committee has produced well thought through and balanced recommendations which are slowly making their way into policy.

    ‘Capping effort at the high capacity end of the fleet whilst keeping flexibility at the bottom end has been a key part of the Committee's work.’

    He also spoke about the severe impact of the winter storms on the country and attempts by ‘powerful landed and riparian owners’ to force the closure of the salmon and trout fishery off the north-east of England, which had failed.

    The full text of Mr Trebilock’s speech, with supporting graphs, can be found on www.nffo.org.uk

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    http://www.fishnewseu.com/44-latest-...-approval.html

    Eustice earns Lerwick approval

    A KEY figure in Shetland's fishing industry has been impressed by attitude of UK fisheries minister, George Eustice, following the MP's visit to Shetland today.

    Shetland Fishermen's Association (SFA) executive officer Simon Collins said there had been positive discussion on a range of issues, after the minister visited the SFA headquarters in Lerwick where he met Mr Collins, SFA chairman Leslie Tait, Shetland Fish Producers' Organisation chief executive Brian Isbister, pelagic and whitefish skippers and representatives of LHD.

    Mr Collins said: "We had a very open and frank discussion on many of the biggest issues we face, including the mackerel deal.

    "The minister is very much aware of the importance of Shetland to UK fisheries and was prepared to engage in some detail rather than hide behind a political smokescreen.

    "There are grounds for optimism on the discard ban, although we clearly have an awful long way to go. Mr Eustice has a commendable grasp of the issues and made it clear that he will roll his sleeves up and work with us.

    "We will maintain contact with the minister and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and try together to find workable solutions to maintain the health of this vital Shetland industry."

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