Scrutiny of shellfish and under-15m scallop fleets

DEFRA launches two major consultations in England

DEFRA has launched two major consultations, in parallel, on the management of the shellfish and scallop sectors in England, reports Tim Oliver.

One relates to views on whether latent capacity (unused licences and entitlements) in the over-10m scallop and shellfish fleets is an issue of concern, and if so, how it can be alleviated.

The other asks for views on the management of the under-15m scallop fleet. Both consultations request evidence to support views expressed, wherever possible.

On latent capacity, DEFRA asks for views on:

  • Abundance and health of scallop and shellfish stocks in relation to existing latent capacity in the over-10m scallop and shellfish fleets
  • Conservation and environmental impacts of latent capacity on the over-10m scallop and shellfish fleets in England
  • Economic, social and cultural impacts of existing latent capacity in the over-10m scallop and shellfish fleets in England
  • Fishery management measures for scallop and shellfish stocks.

The second consultation, on management of the under-15m scallop fleet, asks for views on whether there are issues arising from limits not applying to the under-15m fleet and, if so, what these issues are and how this could be alleviated.

DEFRA seeks views in both consultations on three key areas:

  • Impacts of unrestricted fishing
  • Impacts of introducing restrictions
  • Future management.

DEFRA says that one of its priorities is to improve how ‘profitable but data-poor’ non-quota stocks such as shellfish, whelks, cuttlefish, etc are managed.

It is working with the Scallop Industry Consultation Group (SICG), the Shellfish Industry Advisory Group (SIAG) and its species-specific sub-groups to develop a future management programme for non-quota species.

The two groups have identified latent capacity in the shellfish sector and management of the under-15m scallop fleet, and latent capacity within the over-10m scallop and shellfish fleet, as two areas that need further consideration.

The two separate calls for evidence aim to identify the level of risk and impacts associated with the unrestricted fishing of the under-15m scallop fleet and existing latent capacity, and consider whether action is needed.

“We will use the evidence gathered to inform us whether latent capacity is an issue and, if so, what form of response we might consider, to ensure the sustainability of scallop and shellfish fisheries,” says DEFRA.

“Also, we are asking for views which will help us to better understand whether there are issues arising from limits not applying to the under-15m scallop fleet and, if so, what these issues are and how this could be alleviated.”

Its consultation on the management of the under-15m scallop fleet relates to England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.30 here.

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