Consultation Responses

To: Bertie Archer – DEFRA

Via e mail

Date: 28th July 2014

Reference: FQA proposals for Under Tens

Dear Bertie,
Many thanks for your e mail of the 23rd July regarding proposals for under ten FQA’s.

I would stress on a positive note that we are in advanced discussions with some of your colleagues regarding what is in our view the most sensible option to deal with the many and serious aspects of quota and under tens for the future, the creation of a dedicated inshore producer organisation type body.

In response to your specific questions posed via e mail:
- Do you think this proposal will be attractive? No
- Will this proposal solve, or cause, any problems for you/your organisation/your members? It will cause significant problems for a great many under tens, as well as severe financial difficulties.
- Do you think the principles are sound and reasonable? No
- What other considerations/factors should be reflected in the methodology? A review of the outcome of previous consultations especially that of 2011 conducted jointly by NUTFA / DEFRA on this subject [and described by one senior DEFRA officer as ‘the most effective consultation we’ve ever undertaken’.]

General Comments;
It is evident that you have circulated your thinking widely as I have had a number of calls from concerned individuals on this subject.
Many of them commented that the issue of allocating FQA’s based on an individual track record had been extensively discussed during the aforementioned 2011 consultation on Domestic Reform and had been almost universally rejected for a range of reasons that should not require repeating.[this is very much the polite version of many comments received that were significantly more blunt].

We are particularly concerned that you refer to the outcome of the DEFRA Community Quota Group project as illustrating a range of benefits for licence holders moving out of the U10m fleet pool. We would be interested to know how you have arrived at this view in light of the fact that history and experience suggests otherwise.

In brief, said history was that the MMO advertised the possibility for under tens to join together in community quota groups and invited fishermen to apply. Despite serious reservations, NUTFA recommended that groups of under tens should in fact apply, if only to gain a better understanding of what was on offer.

Out of the numerous groups that registered an initial interest, the MMO, by their own admission, chose only the 6 groups who held what they considered to be potentially viable amounts of quota, based on MMO figures and the individual track records of group members.

When the groups were provided with what that amount of quota amounted to for each group, the offer was rejected by all but one set of fishers, the Ramsgate group. The remaining groups considered that what was on offer, based on individual track records, was less than was available within the Pool and certainly insufficient to maintain a living without having to resort to leasing or going broke.

So despite spending something over £200,000 on the initiative, including employing two Community Group managers that didn’t actually have a quota group to manage, the project ended up with about 14 fishermen in the Ramsgate area making up one group at the outset.

Since the inception of this one and only group, numbers have dwindled to only three fishers at present.
It is widely recognised that the benefit of fishing from Ramsgate is that one operates on the border between areas IVc and VIId, effectively giving those fishers two bites at the quota cherry and consequently twice as much monthly quota, and therefore track record as most other fishermen in the under ten sector.
So even with this undoubted benefit, the ostensibly successful Ramsgate pilot has in fact not provided the long term benefits originally supposed.

This outcome does underline most clearly the fact that it is entirely iniquitous and unfair to attempt to impose an allocation of quota based on individual track records when those track records have been based on a false premise, that the other sector of the fleet has had a vast amount of funding to reduce capacity [that has in fact had dire and hopefully unintended consequences for the way that quota “ownership” is considered – that resulted in DEFRA ending up in the High Court facing a Judicial Review] and that we are now expected to accept widespread bankruptcy for under tens on the basis that DEFRA keep trying to persuade the world that the community quota group debacle was somehow a success that should therefore lead to the provision of individual FQA’s to the entire under ten metre fleet..

Just one of the many aspects that came from the previous consultation was the fact that officials clearly didn’t recognise or understand that until the suggestion of an under ten track record was raised, operators had never paid any attention to the notion of a personal track record as we worked from a national collective Pool. At the same time, DEFRA had also underestimated the movement of boats in our sector. Unlike large vessels that tend to stay in the same ownership for long periods, our sector fishermen tend to upgrade and downgrade their boats more often. This led to many fishermen inadvertently and unknowingly selling of both their boat and importantly their track record.

In the event that the proposals for individual track records had gone ahead at that time, it would have resulted in any number of long term and bona fide fishermen being unable to continue to fish in the same pattern as they had done for many years and with no ability to consider alternatives. During the consultation, where we visited a large number of English ports and were accompanied by your colleagues, there was considerable and understandable fear created by the proposals in this regard. As just one example, a fisherman in North Shields explained that he had been fishing since leaving school, had built up a reasonable business but due to getting older had decided the previous year to move to a smaller vessel. He had sold his boat in good faith, not realising, and why should he have, that he had also sold away his track record. In the event that individual allocations had been forthcoming, he would have had no track record, a worthless boat and a shed full of gear that he couldn’t use and with no ability to change methods or area. Your colleagues did their best to suggest that there would be an effective appeals procedure but no one was convinced in that respect.

I will not labour this and the many other points of concern that came out of the consultation, you can of course read them for yourself.

I would however note the issues of the forthcoming landings obligation and the implications of that for the under ten metre fleet and equally importantly, the requirement on Government with respect to Article 17 of the reformed CFP. These are certainly subjects for face to face discussions and entirely relevant to this subject.

Underlying all this is the unequivocal fact that the initial allocation of quota to the under ten fleet was and remains hopelessly flawed and whilst we understand the predicament that this now puts DEFRA in, it is no reason to maintain the inequity.

Article 17 provides the ideal and legally required opportunity for a review of the situation.
At the same time and as mentioned at the outset, NUTFA’s proposals for an English Under Ten PO are well advanced. We have a meeting scheduled with some of your colleagues early in September and on that basis, it may be advantageous to all of us to meet before that date to discuss the implications of your proposals.

Very much in brief, some other aspects of the proposals in need of consideration and discussion are, in no particular order:
• The falsity of attempting to equate ‘ownership’ with compliance. There is precious little evidence in support of this presumption and ample evidence against it.
• The currently rapid backing away in many parts of the USA and Canada amongst other places from the catch shares scenario. Originally touted as the way forward, now recognised as undermining fishing communities and consolidating quota into few and powerful hands at the expense of local fishers
• The potential loss of vital flexibility in terms of access to the resource for smaller scale fishers unable to simply steam away to pastures new
• The fact that many under ten operators have been forced out of quota species fishing due to massive reductions in both stocks and subsequently quotas, neither of which were their fault yet they continue to suffer the consequences
• The example of the use of cheaper foreign crews on larger vessels as a direct result of the increase in the coast of leasing or purchase of FQA’s
• Compensation issues around the forced reduction in the value of fishing licences [deemed under extensive Case Law to be possessions]
• DEFRA’s consideration of the content and aspirations within the current Scottish Government consultation on the future of quota access
• And last but not least, the potential impact on new entrants to the industry.

We look forward to receiving suggested dates to meet with you in this regard and hope that the information above will assist you in more clearly understanding our concerns on behalf of the under ten metre fleet with regard to the proposals.

If you require any further clarification or information in advance of a meeting then please feel free to get in touch,
With best regards,
NUTFA

May 12th 2014

Pelagic Landing Obligation – Consultation Response by the New Under Ten Fishermen’s Association Limited
We offer direct responses to the specific questions posed within the consultation, followed by a range of more general comments.

Question 1: “Do you agree that the level of discarding in the English pelagic industry is relatively low, and the impact of the pelagic landing obligation should therefore be minimal. If not, please provide details and any supporting evidence”. The main pelagic fisheries prosecuted by the <10 fleet in England are handline fisheries for mackerel, ring netting for sardine, pilchards, herring, mackerel , sprat and other like species, mainly in the south west, and netting, both fixed and drift, for mackerel, herring and sprat etc all around the coast.
With regard to discarding within current passive gear catches of pelagic species, I copy the comments provided previously to DEFRA in April of this year with regard to the potential for exemptions:
Survivability for handline caught pelagic species, mainly Mackerel is in my experience far more straightforward. The overwhelming majority of handline caught Mackerel comes to the boat fighting fit and appears to be none the worse for being hauled up to the surface.
Whilst there is of course a need to be able to demonstrate this high survival rate, I am confident that it would be straightforward to illustrate the high level of survival of fish caught in this way. The only element of the operation that may need more close study is the effect of running the fish through a fish stripper, to pull the hook from the fish as this may have a detrimental effect on survival due to damage to its mouth parts.
From long experience, Mackerel caught by handline and used as live bait last a long time and swim strongly, despite being hooked.
In a similar way, pelagic species taken by drift net also have a high survival rate, albeit probably significantly lower than in a handline fishery in relative terms. This is due to the fact that drift nets tend to be accompanied and hauled quite quickly once a reasonable catch is observed. Again, work will be required to more clearly understand survival characteristics and percentages.
There is also a by catch of pelagic species in trawls, bottom set gill and entangling nets and I am unaware of any specific work that has been done with regard to the survival of these species taken in these ways. Survival will be variable depending on tow time or soak time, depth of water and a number of other factors that will need to be investigated. It is true to say that the majority of pelagic species caught in this way would be dead when hauled.
In some areas there will be a targeted midwater trawl fishery for pelagic species and these fisheries will reflect the issues made immediately above, irrespective of size of operation.
English passive gear fishers will routinely discard fish of below the minimum landing size and even larger on the basis of market demand depending on the time of year. So the answer to question 1 in terms of the potentially “minimal impact” of the landings obligation for all passive methods will revolve around the outcome of the previously identified and urgent need for work on the survivability of species and therefore the application of a sensible exemption on this basis prior to the implementation of the obligation. This requirement is equally valid for the ring net fleet.
With regard to discards in the <10 ring net fleet, that is I am informed, similar in terms of operation to the larger purse seine sector; I have made enquiries of members who ring net who tell me that they are easily able to identify the size and species within the confines of the net whilst the fish are still “free swimming” and that in the event that those fish are slipped, they swim away happily and importantly without losing any scales. These observations do not of course amount to scientific evidence and it is therefore clear that work needs to be done in this respect, prior to the ban, to provide the required scientific evidence that would demonstrate high survival rates, or otherwise. It is apparently also possible to brail a small amount of fish from the net to assess the size when the fish are still in this free swimming state.
The key element within question 1 in regard to ring netting operations will be the definition of “slipping”. If, as you have outlined previously, any slipping of catches by ring netters will be deemed to be discarding then this will cause significant problems.
In the event that slipping at any state of the closure of the ring net is to be deemed discarding then its effect will be anything other than “minimal” for <10m ring netters.
Finally in regard to this question, we consider that the definition of “high grading” in fisheries with a proven survivability of discarded fish needs to be reviewed. Where fishers return fish of this nature to the water, they should not be forced to retain and therefore kill fish, especially those below the MCRS or where there is no human consumption market.

Question 2: Do you agree that any additional quota, made available through an uplift in EU agreed TAC, should be allocated through Fixed Quota Allocation units? If not, please explain why you disagree and suggest alternative methods with any supporting evidence.
If those pelagic species taken by the <10m fleet that are not currently reported as discards are subsequently considered discards and required to be recorded then it is clearly obvious that any uplift needs to take that into consideration and that allocations accessible by the <10m fleet should reflect this.
The case of uplifts in quota, whether through the FQA system or otherwise is tied up with the management and allocation of quota and especially what might happen to the under ten aspect in the event that swaps and deals become necessary under the obligation. Our concern is that swaps and deals by larger scale quota holders, whether internally or between Member State interests run the risk of significantly reducing opportunities for the MMO’s under ten quota manager. This is particularly relevant on the basis that whilst the dedicated Area VII handline quota has not been fully taken since 2002 due to the movement of mackerel away from some inshore areas, there are indications that the northern mackerel stock is moving south and it will be vital that allowance is made to cover any changes in the distribution of pelagic species in the future.
Whilst landings from the under ten metre fleet may be only a very small percentage of the overall English catch, it is nevertheless vitally important in a local context, often making up a significant element of income. I am not aware of any specific work done by STECF or others in terms of the pelagic discard rate from the smaller scale segment of the fleet and would therefore be concerned if no allowance was made for an uplift in the event that an issue came to light following any further research into the issue. Just as the catches are small yet important, it is equally the case that even a small loss of income as a result of the landings obligation would have an impact on smaller scale earnings. In addition, pelagic species will be an important part of the legal yet unrecorded landings of the under tens in terms of private sales under the Registration of Buyers and Sellers legislation and this should also be considered in this respect. If all sectors of the fleet are going to be required to move to effectively a fully documented approach then I am sure that the information gleaned will show clearly the additional aspects that need urgent consideration in respect of the aforementioned landings for private sale. In the event that the aforesaid Regulation requires amending in the light of the requirements of the landings obligation then it is of particular importance that the allowances currently permitted are preserved.
We have previously suggested that consideration be given to exemptions for the lower end of the under ten size range of vessel as there will be a disproportionate cost and inconvenience in demanding the same approach to FDF as a large purse seiner.
It is also worth noting the steady increase in ring netting within the under ten fleet. As mentioned previously, in the event that slipping at any state of the closure of the ring net is to be deemed discarding then its effect will be anything other than “minimal” for <10m ring netters and this aspect needs to be taken into consideration in terms of uplifts. It is therefore entirely appropriate, and equitable for uplifts to be considered for all sectors of the fleet, not just the larger scale element. These uplifts may well be equally as important for all sectors and whether based on the FQA or any other system, should be fairly allocated across the fleet.
In the latter part of this response, we consider the requirements of quota allocation in light of revisions to the CFP but for the purposes of this question then specific uplifts should be directly related to the discard rate, however that is finally identified. We do not consider that a simplistic allocation of uplifts based on the current status quo is acceptable.

Questions 3, 4 & 5: Do you think you will need to utilise any of the additional quota flexibilities available under the new CFP basic regulation? If so, please provide details and any supporting evidence. Q4; Do you agree that the quota management flexibilities should be managed at management body (PO and MMO) level? If not, please provide details and any supporting evidence. Q.5 Do you agree that the proposed changes to the quota management systems will help English fishermen operate under the pelagic landing obligation? If not, please provide details or and suggest other changes to quota management that would be beneficial. NUTFA welcomes the proposals within this section in terms of flexibility for the reasons noted below:
On a stock by stock basis increase the time period over which catch limits are allocated; This proposal, mirroring the suggestions from NUTFA taken up by the MMO in regard to the previously restrictive monthly allocation for demersal species in some areas will be of benefit to under ten operators for obvious reasons that I do not need to reiterate.
o Make quota leasing arrangements more transparent via the MMO website so that sources of quota are more easily identifiable to those who need to access additional quota; this sounds very good in theory and we welcome any attempt to increase transparency in the quota management system by PO’s and quota holders. Unfortunately, identifying possible sources is one thing but the cost of quota leasing, especially for pelagic species can often be difficult or impossible for smaller scale operators with limited financial resources and especially when attempting to access lease quota in competition with larger scale operators. We particularly welcomed the Scottish Government’s recent decision to reallocate 1000 tons of mackerel quota to the under tens in Scotland as part of their wider review into quota allocation and management. We look forward to a similar approach from the English Government in this respect.
o Allow quota leasing to be carried out following landing in instances where the catch limit set for that stock has been exceeded. Whilst this suggestion is most welcome, we are concerned that there is no explanation of just how such an opportunity might potentially operate. It therefore raises more questions than answers. Just where and who from and under what mechanism would under ten operators be able to access lease quota? Would there be any control on the potential cost as in the event that the holders of quota are contacted and understand the need for the provision of quota to cover an over landing, then the temptation would be to demand an excessive price? What would happen in the event that the under ten operator was unable to obtain the additional quota at a reasonable cost? In the event of a boarding by officials at sea taking place and there was a catch in excess of the allocation provided for an under ten operator, then ostensibly an offence has been committed. At what point in the fishing cycle, from catch to landing would an offence be deemed to have been committed? Enforcement by the MMO varies in “intensity” depending on area. Whilst for instance in one area in England, enforcement staff seek to enforce catch composition rules on under tens, this is not the case elsewhere. It will be vital that a clear understanding of and answers to the questions posed above is provided and that there is a clearly understood and level playing field in terms of interpretation around the coastal MMO offices prior to the implementation of the obligation.

Q3: Do you think you will need to utilise any of the additional quota flexibilities available under the new CFP basic regulation?
As the management and allocation of quota for the under ten fleet is not in their own hands, as it is largely for the over ten fleet, we will be reliant on the effectiveness and efficiency of the MMO Quota Manager with respect to the utilisation of the additional flexibilities. As it is clear that although the pelagic landings obligation is likely to be somewhat more straightforward to implement than the demersal requirements, there is little doubt that we will need to maximise the potential benefits of the flexibilities on offer. Apart from the Area VII allocation of mackerel, pelagic species quota for under tens around the English coast has been unfairly restricted and anything that can provide more equitable access would be welcome. Until the obligation has been enacted, and notwithstanding any implications that subsequently come to light, it is difficult too accurately assess what may be required. We would therefore urge that as much flexibility, in every respect is included so that under ten operators are not disadvantaged in the event of any unintended consequences coming to light post implementation.

Q4; Do you agree that the quota management flexibilities should be managed at management body (PO and MMO) level?
We remain concerned that banking and borrowing and the use of inter species flexibilities by PO’s may not always be undertaken in the best interests of the under ten fleet as PO responsibilities are to their members, the vast majority of whom are larger scale operators. We consider that sufficient safeguards should be put in place so that any opportunities for the use of flexibilities by PO’s does not in any way negatively impact on access to and the use of pelagic quotas by the under ten fleet.
As far as the management of flexibilities is concerned, we have no choice currently other than management by the MMO.

Q.5 Do you agree that the proposed changes to the quota management systems will help English fishermen operate under the pelagic landing obligation?
As mentioned in the preamble to answering questions 3, 4 and 5, we welcome the proposed changes to quota management as far as they go.
~We do however take issue over statement in the Impact Assessment for the Pelagic Landing Obligation that: “The specific rationale for Government intervention for each of these key areas is………………………………. Government has a role to ensure English quota is used effectively to maximise public benefit”.
We see little if any evidence in support of this claim that the Government’s management of English quota “maximises public benefit”. This comment is equally valid for both pelagic and demersal quota management and allocation but is perhaps more striking with regard to pelagic quota holdings. Whilst we recognise the very short timeline required for implementation of the pelagic landings obligation and the significant workload for DEFRA in this respect, it is no reason to ignore the requirements of Article 17 of the CFP with respect to revised allocation criteria. This should also be considered in the light of the requirement under Article 18[1] of the EMFF Regulation that requires Administrations with a small scale fleet in excess of 1000 vessels to produce an Action Plan for the development, competitiveness and sustainability of that sector. We would suggest that the consideration of changes in relation to access and allocation of quota in light of the various new requirements in EU Regulations is both a legal requirement and necessary adjunct to discussions with regard to the landings obligations.
It is worth noting the English under ten fleet’s access to quota, pelagic and otherwsie was decimated due to both stock reductions following previous overfishing by larger scale operators and the introduction of the RBS legislation in 2005.
DEFRA recognise the value of the under ten fleet as expressed in their 2027 Vision document yet to state that they have a duty to maximise the public benefit through quota management yet continue to use allocations, based on historic track records, many of which are predicated on false recording in the first place and especially in light of the requirements of Article 17 may be convenient but is disingenuous.
Whilst the MMO statistics in this respect for pelagic species are not that easy to follow, spread as they are over various spreadsheets, it is clear that the English under ten fleet has access to less than 3% of the NS and VIID Herring quota and less that 0.6% of the west coast mackerel allocation. Even if one includes the VIIe-h mackerel handline allocation, under tens only have less than 3% of the overall English allocation. These figures should be viewed, not in the current context of access and allocation but against the revised requirements of Articles 2 and 17 of the CFPand the fact that pelagic quota is not just valuable in order for under tens to have fair and equitable access to stocks but also on the basis of its significant value as a tradable currency for the MMO Quota Manager who has been able to use it previously to keep important demersal fisheries for under tens open by trading effectively.

Q.6 Do you think you will need to utilise a survivability or de minimis exemption available under the new CFP basic regulation? If so, please provide details and any supporting evidence.
For the sake of convenience in response to this question, I copy immediately below relevant comments provided previously to DEFRA in this respect:
“Following our recent discussions with regard to the pelagic landing obligation, I write to request that you consider the exemption issues as they relate to under ten interests.
It is worth noting that there is a growing recognition that leasing will not be a viable option for these vessels on the basis that leasing costs are likely to spiral upwards as soon as the discard ban draws near. An article in a Scottish paper recently suggests that quota values will increase fivefold as a result of said ban, making leasing effectively out of reach for the vast majority of under ten operators.
With regard to the exemptions potentially available, I highlight a number of examples below with regard to the pelagic obligation that provide a foundation for our request for consideration of the need for access to said exemptions.
Survivability:
The majority of pelagic effort by under tens is related to handline fisheries for mackerel, ring netting for sardine, pilchards, herring, mackerel , sprat and other like species, mainly in the south west, and netting for mackerel, herring and sprat etc all around the coast etc.
I am no expert on the ring netting element but am aware that it is similar in terms of operation to the larger purse seine sector.
I have made enquiries of members who ring net who tell me that they are easily able to identify the size and species in the net whilst the fish are still “free swimming” and that in the event that those fish are slipped, they swim away happily and importantly without losing any scales. These observations do not of course amount to scientific evidence and it is therefore clear that work needs to be done in this respect, prior to the ban, to provide the required scientific evidence that would demonstrate high survival rates, or otherwise. It is apparently also possible to brail a small amount of fish from the net to assess the size when the fish are still in this free swimming state.
In the event, as you have suggested, that ‘slipping’ is considered to be discarding then a number of scenarios come to mind that would cause problems for the fishers concerned.
Encircling a catch that turns out to be below the MCRS would require it all to be retained and landed for sale for non human consumption only. This would prevent the fisher from covering his costs, never mind making a profit and it would of course count against his quota.
It will equally be the case that encircling part of a shoal where the catch turns out to be in excess of the quota available to the vessel would also result in problems for the fisher. He would be unable to discard the part of the catch that was in excess of his quota. Your previous mention of a retrospective ability to obtain quota is relevant to this scenario but I struggle to understand where this additional quota might come from, how it could be accessed at any time of the day or night [these ring netters work largely at night] and at what cost. As mentioned above, in the event that quota lease costs increase significantly, it may well be impossible for the fisher to meet the financial requirements of accessing additional quota?
What is perhaps of most relevance in this discussion is the safety element for ring netters. Despite their best efforts to take only what they have quota or orders for from the shoal, occasionally the shoal swims into the net and is encircled. it is not impossible for a smaller scale ring netter, with a carrying capacity aboard the vessel of perhaps 8 – 10 tons to find themselves with a net containing 20 or 30 tons of fish. It is plainly impossible to retain this amount on board and the only option is to slip the excess element. I am therefore unsure as to how one could cope with this situation in the event that slipping is to be considered as discarding.
Survivability for handline caught pelagic species, mainly Mackerel is, in my experience far more straightforward. The overwhelming majority of handline caught Mackerel comes to the boat fighting fit and appears to be none the worse for being hauled up to the surface.
Whilst there is of course a need to be able to demonstrate this high survival rate, I am confident that it would be straightforward to illustrate the high level of survival of fish caught in this way. The only element of the operation that may need more close study is the effect of running the fish through a fish stripper, to pull the hook from the fish as this may have a detrimental effect on survival due to damage to its mouth parts.
From long experience, Mackerel caught by handline and used as live bait last a long time and swim strongly, despite being hooked.
In a similar way, pelagic species taken by drift net also have a high survival rate, albeit lower than for handline caught fish. This is due to the fact that drift nets tend to be accompanied and hauled quite quickly once a reasonable catch is observed. Again, work will be required to more clearly understand survival characteristics.
There is also a by catch of pelagic species in trawls, bottom set gill and entangling nets and I am unaware of any specific work that has been done with regard to the survival of these species taken in these ways. Survival will be variable depending on tow time or soak time, depth of water and a number of other factors that will need to be investigated.
In some areas there will be a targeted midwater trawl fishery for pelagic species and these fisheries will reflect the issues made immediately above.
De minimis – Selectivity very difficult.
The selectivity concerns with regard to pelagic encircling fisheries are similar in nature to those expressed above relating to survivability, as are those relating to towed gears.
Selectivity in handline fisheries is a problem inasmuch as whilst very often one can come across a shoal of fish of a similar size and choose to fish or not fish accordingly, it is equally the case that fish of different sizes swim together and despite the best efforts of the fisher, fish of different sizes will come to the gear. This will of course not be a problem in the event that the survivability issue raised above is clarified.
Selectivity in passive nets, drifting or fixed is related directly to the mesh size and the way that the nets are rigged. It is the case that targeted net fisheries for pelagics tend to be ‘clean’, ie, it is only the target species that is caught. By ensuring that the mesh size is suitable in terms of the MCRS and that the hanging ratio precludes the use of a net as an entangling, rather than a gill net then selectivity on size is reasonably straightforward. It should therefore be possible to determine an effective mesh size with little additional research.
Selectivity in other static nets is far more difficult as Mackerel will manage to get themselves caught in other than nets used to target them specifically. However, the incidence of by catch is relatively small in most cases but impossible to curtail altogether.
De minimis – disproportionate costs:
This element of the landings obligation, especially in relation to the under ten fleet throws up a range of issues.
In the majority of cases for pelagic species, the part of the catch that would previously have been discarded and will shortly have to be bought to shore is relatively small. On that basis, and without knowledge of just how this element is to be treated, ie, taken to a treatment facility, taken to a central or local transport facility or being able to be used for bait, there will undoubtedly be a disproportionate cost in meeting any such requirement. This cost is not only in monetary terms, but also in terms of the time it would need to transport it to wherever. One can foresee a fisher, with half a box of ‘landed discards’ having to spend both time and money to meet the requirements for this element of the catch. It will also be the case that rigid adherence to such a requirement will do little to encourage compliance with the Regulation.
From the moment this element of the catch comes aboard, it causes costs for the fisher. There is clearly a major potential problem purely in terms of storage space aboard a small vessel. If, as would be necessary, the catches for human and non human consumption had to be kept apart [and the requirements of the Responsible Fishing Scheme are clear in this regard] then extra boxes would need to be carried, as would additional ice, unless the skipper decided not to ice this part of the catch [that would in turn create obvious health concerns]. This in turn creates safety issues with the load aboard a small vessel being increased. In smaller vessels with limited deck space, additional catches would have to be stacked and this again poses potential stability risks.
The situation would not improve on landing. As mentioned above, the additional work required to deal with this element of the catch are over and above the norm. There is currently no clarity in the logistics side of dealing with this part of the catch and for the majority of smaller scale operators, it is very unlikely that they will be close to any land based facility. Any boxes used for non human catch, if it was not iced would require careful cleaning.
The definition of ‘disproportionate costs’ will vary depending on location, facilities, vessel and fishing pattern.
I hope that the above is of some assistance to you. Please do not hesitate to get in touch for anything further. JSP 25/3/14”
Q.7 Do you agree that the proposed monitoring and enforcement regime, including a mix of Remote Electronic Monitoring systems, at-sea observers, land based sampling, and self-reporting is a proportionate and risk based approach to enforce the pelagic landing obligation in England? If not, please provide details and any supporting evidence. Q.8 Do you expect to incur new costs from the new monitoring and enforcement regime? If so, please provide details on expected costs and any supporting evidence. On the basis of the proposed monitoring and enforcement regime, we do not consider that there should be many if any additional monetary costs. We are however concerned that there is likely to be a new requirement for under ten operators, with respect to the landings obligation, to meet the demands of the fully documented fishery approach. This is of particular concern as Government has made it clear in the past that this sector has no legal requirement to complete a log book in normal fishing operations, other than in the event that they lease quota. It appears clear to us that even the smallest under ten vessel, unless there is some sensible recognition of the disproportionate cost and time involved, as well as the impracticality of trying to complete paper records in a small boat, will now be required to record and report catches under the FDF regime?
That being the case then DEFRA should discuss possible alternatives and options for sub sectors of the under ten fleet in this respect and ensure that the imposition of any new recording and reporting requirements for under tens are introduced proportionately and with sufficient support, guidance and initial flexibility.
Q.9 Do you agree that our proposals are a proportionate response to the requirements on quota species below MCRS? If not, please provide details and any supporting evidence.
On the change from MLS to MCRS generally, we would be concerned if the MCRS for any given species was reduced for the sake of convenience rather than on biological grounds.
The practical implications of this section are dependent to some extent on the answers to concerns over the approach to exemptions discussed earlier in terms of survivability and disproportionate cost.
In the event that what would have been previously discarded element of the catch now has to be retained and held separately from the main catch then this runs the risk of generating safety, stability and health issues for smaller scale operators.
It is generally the case that under tens have limited ability to store catch safely. They are also limited in what they can take with them to sea as far as ice and boxes are concerned. These additional requirements will seriously impede many operators from moving safely around the deck and the lack of ability to “get out of the way” when things go wrong due to the additional carrying requirements poses a real risk to fishers.
There is also a clear case for concern in terms of stability. This is equally the case for all sub sectors of the under ten fleet. For ring netters for instance, with limited storage space, having to retain excessive amounts of fish that would normally be slipped poses a genuine threat to stability, as does the scenario where other methods would also potentially generate stability issues through excessive weight of fish being retained.
The aforementioned lack of space to carry increased amounts of ice, together with the need to segregate catches also poses a threat to health and hygiene on smaller vessels.
We strongly suggest that there is an exemption within the Regulation to allow discarding on the basis of crew and vessel safety.
Q.10: Do you think that there are any issues relating to the implementation of the pelagic landing obligation in England that we have not identified and should be aware of?
Section 1.10 of the Consultation makes it clear that vessels targeting demersal species are not required to comply with the rules relating to the pelagic landing obligation in 2015, even if they have a by-catch of pelagic quota species, and any catch of non quota species (pelagic and demersal) will not be subject to the landing obligation and may be discarded. It would be helpful to more clearly define what constitutes ‘targeted’ fishing and especially with regard to the situation where a vessel is targeting non quota species and has a by catch of pelagic species. If vessels targeting demersal stocks [assumed to be pressure stock species?] are not required to comply with the pelagic landing obligation then can we assume that this is the case for those targeting non quota species such as Bass for instance?
With regard to any uplift or beneficial quota opportunities, as has been pointed out, the majority of pelagic landings come from the larger scale fleet. In Table 4 [Annex], there are substantial landings by the English fleet into foreign ports, notably Ijmuiden [the top port overall for landings], Scheveningen and Las Palmas. Any opportunities with regard to the Economic Link requirements in this regard would be helpful for the under ten metre fleet.
The consultation documents also refer to quota management issues specifically with regard to the under ten metre fleet, vis: “To ensure that all parts of the pelagic fleet are able to access the full range of quota flexibilities within the CFP basic regulation the quota management process could be overhauled for the under 10 metre and non sector vessels, with completely new management arrangements implemented. Examples of what could be done to improve quota management in these sectors: a) Create a PO for the non sector and under 10 metre vessels. This would increase efficiency within the quota management system, allowing these sectors to benefit from increased
flexibility within the system. b) Provide annual quota allowances to those vessels with an interest in managing their own quota.
Defra consulted on similar policy options in 2010, and the response was not supportive of such wholesale changes.
This option would be seen as gold plating and an unnecessary administrative obligation in excess of the minimum EU requirements and financial burden on the inshore fisheries sector which could adversely affect the growth of this business sector”.
NUTFA welcomes the mention of a potential overhaul of the management process for under ten and non sector segments in [a] above. We also consider that the confluence of new and revised requirements in terms of Articles 2 and 17 of the CFP and Article 18[1] of the EMFF, together with the opportunities possibly available through, or at least driven by the landings obligation[s] do provide a one off opportunity for a serious revision of quota management and allocation with respect to the under ten fleet.
Example [a] above is something that NUTFA has been discussing with DEFRA officials for some time and we are confident that there is a genuine interest within the department in pursuing this opportunity. There is also a similarly positive view taken in principle by MMO staff members. Following recent discussions, we will be coming forward with revised possibilities in the near future.
We would however disagree with the comment that “Defra consulted on similar policy options in 2010, and the response was not supportive of such wholesale changes. This option would be seen as gold plating and an unnecessary administrative obligation in excess of the minimum EU requirements and financial burden on the inshore fisheries sector which could adversely affect the growth of this business sector”.
As you will be aware, NUTFA played an integral part in the consultation exercise and whilst there was indeed opposition to the specific DEFRA proposals, there was a genuine and widespread desire for change, albeit not to a straightforward rights based system. We have since developed, and consulted extensively upon a PO type structure, with the retention of a pool based system but with almost every other aspect akin to existing PO operation. These proposals found favour with the majority of under ten operators consulted and could certainly not be considered ‘gold plating’ by any means and nor would they be a financial burden on the inshore fisheries sector, in fact quite the opposite. It is a similar consideration with regard to the perceived adverse effect on business growth. We have provided a copy of this initiative to DEFRA and discussions are ongoing.
Briefly with regard to suggestion [b] above, we are not surprised that the pilot project for community based quota management has failed to gain traction. Without going into detail, out of all the potentially interested parties, only the Ramsgate group took up the offer to manage their own allocations, for reasons well known. Numbers involved in this Group have dwindled and it is clearly not a viable option for the wider fleet.
Q.11 Do you have any comments or evidence on the costs and benefits presented in the associated Impact Assessment. This includes, but not limited to, any costs or benefits associated with:
• hosting an observer onboard;
• familiarisation with the new monitoring and enforcement regime; and
• accessing non human consumption markets for fish below MCRS.
According to DEFRA, there is unlikely to be any particular uplift with respect to the under ten fleet and therefore the comment within the Impact Assessment that: “ Under the pelagic landing obligation there may be an uplift in Total Allowable Catch at EU level because industry are no longer discarding. This would allow the pelagic industry to land and sell more fish, resulting in a potential benefit in the range £0.8 - £1.4 million per annum” is largely irrelevant to our sector. This is particularly relevant to methods such as ring netting where, depending on the final definition of ‘slipping’, that segment of the fleet may be forced to land quite significant amounts of fish that may otherwise have been safely discarded. [It really is important in this respect that DEFRA access or instigate scientific research to clarify this issue. Whilst we are unable to offer hard evidence, anecdotally it would appear that slipping is relatively commonplace and if fishers consider that survival of slipped fish is high and DEFRA clearly think otherwise then scientific clarity is urgently required.
As many of the consequences of the implementation of the obligations, either intended or otherwise have yet to be adequately recognised, it is effectively impossible to identify costs or benefits that may flow from it. Clearly, larger vessels will have the costs involved in the REM systems but as little specific work has been done in terms of de minimis, survivability and disproportionate costs for the under tens, we are unable to assess what the overall costs may be. There will certainly be costs, in terms of time, complexity, increased recording and reporting procedures, inconvenience, safety, hygiene and of course financial through having to deal with all of the landed catch, including that part of the catch that cannot be sold through normal channels in the way that we currently understand. We still await some clarity with regard to the where and when of shore side infrastructure for dealing with this element of the catch and we hope that a degree of practicality and pragmatism is shown in regard to under ten landings, that often take place in remote sites and at all hours of the day and night.
We do not consider that hosting observers on board will be an option for under tens in the vast majority of cases. Familiarisation with the monitoring and enforcement regime will take some time for some fishers and we would hope that a positive and supportive attitude is displayed by enforcement officers around the coast, rather than wading in on day one with prosecutions. This is relevant with respect to the aforementioned comment on the need for a level playing field in enforcement terms across the board. It really is too early, and there is insufficient information available to assess the potential costs associated with accessing non human consumption markets for fish below the MCRS.
Conclusion: It is clear that the forthcoming landings obligations are a reality and fishers will need to meet the legal requirements. At the same time, all concerned must recognise that this is a step change from what has gone before. It is therefore highly likely that there will be a range of unintended consequences and the system must have the flexibility to evolve to meet the challenges that will certainly be forthcoming.
For under tens, with an inherent lack of flexibility in relation to quota, the outcomes could have a significant adverse impact. We are concerned that the identified scientific research necessary with regard to the flexibilities and exemptions are needed before financial support through the EMFF will be available.
Staff in DEFRA are also faced with a very significant and increased workload, with unreasonably short timeframes for the development of the landings obligations and we are concerned that they will simply not have enough time and resources to ensure no adverse effects on the smaller scale sector.
We welcome and are grateful for the consideration that DEFRA has given to under ten issues specifically and hope that the positive current dialogue can be continued up to implementation and beyond.

JSP110514

May 12th 2014

Consultation Response by the New Under Ten Fishermen’s Association (NUTFA) to the proposed approach to EMFF

Q1: Do you have any comments on the draft SWOT analysis and needs assessment?
We welcome the EMFF’s focus on the smaller scale sector and whilst the SWOT analysis is comprehensive, it fails to adequately consider the requirement of Article 18 [1]: in Member States where over 1 000 vessels can be considered small-scale coastal fishing vessels, an action plan for the development, competitiveness and sustainability of small-scale coastal fishing;

It is clear therefore that a number of initiatives will need to flow from this requirement but they seem lacking within the overall section.
A key element herein, allied to the recognition within the needs assessment to ensure that the regionalisation of fisheries management is well supported is a lack of identified and specific support for effective representation of smaller scale operators [that make up 77% of the active fleet in the UK and circa 80% across the EU] within the Advisory Committees and allied structures. The CFP, CMO and the EMFF all recognise the importance of small scale fishers but lip service is insufficient and not least when the Commission and Member States have all admitted that there is a pressing need for a stronger voice for the small scale sector. This will not be possible unless financial support is forthcoming to enable capacity building within this sector and fair and equitable representation with regard to all aspects of the implementation of the Regulations in the next few years.
There is a clear example of this lack of effective representation at a practical level whereby the under ten fleet has no genuine PO type presence. This is relevant as both the CFP and CMO consider that PO’s are key bodies to achieve the objectives of both the CFP and CMO. Under tens however make up only a very small percentage of overall present PO membership [and that membership is not even recognised by the MMO in their statistical analysis of PO membership, we assume on the basis that the majority of under tens in “membership” of a PO are on an ‘associate’ rather than full basis as there is a requirement for under tens wishing to lease quota from a PO to be a member of a PO]. It is clear therefore that this issue needs addressing and we suggest that serious consideration, and financial support is provided in pursuit of a dedicated under ten PO type body and that this should be included within the needs assessment and the SWOT analysis.

Whilst we welcome the statement within the ‘Opportunities’ section of the SWOT analysis: “There may be more capacity to further develop sustainable and well-managed inshore fisheries”, we do not consider that it is explicit enough. Of vital importance, and clearly missing from both the SWOT analysis and needs assessment is any effective reference to the requirement of the aforementioned Article 18[1] for an Action Plan for the development, competitiveness and sustainability of small scale coastal fishing.
This must surely form the foundation for the consideration of support, financial and otherwise for the sector and the lack of clear reference to it within the SWOT analysis and needs assessment should be addressed.

Q2: Do you agree with the strategic priorities proposed for the fund in the UK?
We note the absence of the reference to: “including the inshore and small-scale fleets” from Strategic Priority (SP) A whereas it is included within SP B. We consider that it should be included in SP A.
It is generally recognised that the more geographically dispersed small scale fleet suffers disproportionately with regard to shore side and supply chain infrastructure. This will be of particular importance when the requirements for said infrastructure are decided with regard to the landings obligations. SP A refers specifically to the transition to discard free fisheries and it is therefore vital that adequate support is provided equitably to ensure no excessive and disproportionate costs or inconveniences fall on the small scale fleet. The same argument is relevant in respect of the other identified elements within SP A in relation to the need for the specific reference noted within SP B.

Q3: Do you agree with the selection of measures at Annex A? Will they contribute effectively to the UK’s strategic priorities?
We agree with the selection of measures with the exception of the comments hereafter:
What appears to be missing within the selection of measures at Annex A is reference to the requirement of Article 18[1] with regard to the development of an Action Plan for the small scale fleet. This is a serious omission and must be rectified. There are a number of explicit references within both the CFP and CMO in support of the recognition of the value and importance of the small scale fleet. The Article 18 requirement is the fundamental vehicle to meet A18[1] and there should therefore be a specific reference to it within the identified Measures.
We consider that England should include the opportunities afforded within both Articles 28 and 29. We see no rationale for the specific exclusion of these from the selection of measures. The overarching point here is that if they are included they can still be utilised if there is a subsequent need for them whereas if they are specifically excluded then it is we suppose far more difficult to introduce them?
Article 32(b): we note that Scotland is potentially utilising this Article. We consider that England should include it but specifically for vessels of less than perhaps 6 metres in length. This is premised on the basis that the traditional route for many young fishers was via obtaining a small craft, at no great expense and learning their trade without overly increasing fishing pressure. In addition, a number of studies have concluded that small scale operations provide wider social, economic and environmental benefits and we consider that EMFF should provide a route for English (and Welsh) fishers through the provisions of this Article. When Government meets the requirements of Article 17 of the CFP then this smaller scale part of the under ten metre fleet would potentially benefit from the revised methodology for the allocation of quota, to the benefit of local coastal communities. It would also of course address the problem of the ageing workforce within the UK fleet.
Article 33[b]: We are aware that DEFRA are considering the issue of capacity, both latent and otherwise within the English fleet. Without reiterating the extensive arguments in support of fair and equitable treatment that has been so lacking in terms of financial support for and the management of decommissioning between the over and under 10 fleets over many years, we consider it particularly important that in the event that DEFRA decide to restrict the capacity of the under ten fleet, either through the capping or removal of licences, that financial compensation is forthcoming. We consider that it would be both grossly unfair, as well as discriminatory, having spent in excess of £126m on decommissioning for the over ten metre fleet, and especially where the FQA’s attached to the licences were not included in the process, for DEFRA not to provide compensation for the forced removal or restrictions on under ten licences.
This whole aspect should be considered with respect to a review of the simplistic approach to effort reduction based on “too many boats chasing too few fish”. Instead, actions in this respect should be considered within the context and requirements of Article 17 of the CFP. Meeting the requirements of this Article would establish a new paradigm in terms of access and effort and the capacity issues, and therefore support for permanent cessation would be viewed in a new light.
Article 34: we welcome the statement that UK fisheries administrations have no plans to move to transferable fishing concessions systems. We also welcome and support the comment with regard to this article that: all administrations will need to upgrade ageing quota management systems to cope with CFP reform and other changes”. NUTFA looks forward to working closely with Government and others in this regard and not least as it parallels the requirement for the development of an Action Plan for small scale fisheries in Article 18[1].
Article 39 / 40: we refer you to the comment regarding specific exclusion made above.

Q4: Do you agree with the proposed allocation of funds between Union Priorities? Will this allow the UK to effectively address its strategic priorities?
There is insufficient information to provide an unequivocal answer. We consider that as long as there is sufficient flexibility for the movement of funds between the Union Priorities, then some of our concerns would be assuaged. In the meantime, we are concerned that there is a potential for the opportunities within UP 2 to suffer a lack of financial support. It is impossible to accurately predict what will be needed over the period of EMFF and the balance between the UP’s so we would ask that Government commits to a continuing dialogue and ongoing review in these regards.

Questions 5 – 7: We are not competent to answer questions with regard to Aquaculture. We would however stress the need to ensure that funding is not provided in support of any aquaculture related operations that threaten the marine food chain. The current concern over industrial fishing effort on small pelagics in the Baltic, and the consequent and dramatic reduction on food supply for Cod and other larger species does highlight the need for caution in this respect.

Question 9: Do you have any additional evidence on the costs and benefits of the scheme, specifically the costs to business of applying for funding?
The major cost issues with EFF were both the inordinate amount of time it took to get a project agreed and the unnecessary complexity of the application process, including the forms. We would hope that these issues can be addressed under EMFF.
Similarly, we are aware that there were differences between the Devolved Administrations in relation to the intervention rates. We would therefore highlight the requirement for the grant rate to be more closely related to individual sector needs. Where a particular sector clearly lacks the financial resources to provide the required rate of match funding then there should be provision to address this so that applicants are not necessarily discriminated against in terms of resources.

Question 11: Do you have any other comments on the draft Impact Assessment?
Without entering into a philosophical discussion on the comments with regard to the “tragedy of the commons” under “Market Failures”, NUTFA welcomes and endorses the problems noted in this Section and suggests that many of those aforementioned problems could be solved in the event that the “aging quota systems” were replaced with a methodology more fit for purpose in the long term and one that provides support in all its forms for the purposes of Article 17 of the CFP. It is clear that a main plank of the EMFF [as well as the CFP] is recognition of the particular environmental and socio economic benefits of small scale fishers. We would suggest that adequate support mechanisms are put in place to maximise those benefits to wider Society.
The IA goes on to say that ‘Many small businesses in the fishing and aquaculture industry face capital constraints and as a result are unable to undertake investments that may` be economically worthwhile’ and we would of course endorse this statement.

Conclusion: From the perspectives of under tens, wider Society and local fishing communities, it is vital that EMFF is utilised effectively. There are proven and significant benefits to all the groups mentioned here in the event that EMFF is focused on the sustainable development of the small scale fleet as noted in Article 18[1] of the EMFF.
We are approaching a situation where Government will have to meet this requirement as well as those within Article 17 of the CFP. EMFF support will therefore be necessary across the whole panoply of changes that will be introduced under the new CFP.
It is worth reiterating the comments made within the Rationale for Intervention in the IA.:

The EU fishing sector faces a number of challenges common to fishing industries
across the world. Overfishing (which leads to low stocks, smaller landings and lower
incomes, as well as environmental damage) is the main threat to the future of fish
stocks and to the fishing industry. Demand for fish products continues to grow and a
competitive international market represents both a challenge and an opportunity for
the UK industry. Fish stocks and hence the fishing industry will also face
opportunities and threats from climate change over the coming decades. To
safeguard the long-term future of the industry, the fleet needs to adapt and focus on
high value-added sectors whilst maintaining its ties to the local community.

Those parts that are underlined have a direct relevance to the small scale fleet. It is also worth noting that this small scale sector, despite being 77% of the active fishing fleet, providing 65% of catch related employment and being the major net provider of socio economic benefits to coastal communities, has not been responsible for the overfishing of past years. It therefore seems sensible, practical and cost effective to provide support to the sector that provides maximum benefits in this respect and the least negative impact.

JSP 090514

May 3rd 2014

Development of a new framework for technical measures in the reformed CFP.

Consultation Response:

Notes: We have considered the Tech Measures (TM) consultation in conjunction with the proposed Omnibus Regulation as the two are inextricably linked.
We consider that attempting to “clean up” and revise the TM regulation is likely to achieve little and will in fact add further confusion to an already overly complex system that in turn has previously undermined support and compliance.
There is a real danger that the current approach will simply replace one complex micro management system with another even more complex model with the added complications inherent within the requirements of the Landings Obligation.
The current Regulation is recognised to have produced a range of unintended consequences that have in fact forced fishers to discard and have run counter to the original intention of implementation. This must not be repeated in any reformed Regulation.
We consider that a root and branch reform of the TM Regulation is required to reflect the new paradigm.
It appears to us that the starting point for the new framework should be founded on a clean sheet and on the basis that all current technical measures are redundant. We understand the potential reluctance of managers to take this approach that produces what may be considered a legislative vacuum but the opportunity afforded to start afresh, especially with regard to the aforementioned requirements within the reformed CFP, notably Articles 15 et al, together with the unacceptable level of complexity and contradictions within the present Regulation should be taken advantage of.
This approach represents the main challenge, and the greatest opportunity within the consultation.

A regionalised CFP with stakeholder involvement:
This section of the consultation tends to underline the above comments. The extensive requirements on operators within the reformed CFP puts a clear onus, and provides very significant incentives on meeting the demands of the Landings Obligation. We would therefore suggest that the TM Regulation follows the premise as stated, to provide the incentives for selectivity and avoidance of unwanted catches but without the inclusion of a plethora of additional and unnecessary micro management.
We believe it important to consider the regulatory approach and impact of fishing effort on stocks separately from those effects upon the marine environment more generally. We believe that taking the ecosystem based approach is clearly the way forward in this respect but it will be important not to confuse the two parallel approaches.
We are pleased to see the term ‘involvement’, rather than just ‘engagement’ used within the context of stakeholders.
We welcome the reformed CFP, especially with regard to its clear recognition of the social, economic and environmental benefits of the smaller scale and low impact sector of the European fleet.
We consider it vital to the success of the Regulation and the reformed CFP generally that stakeholder involvement through the regionalisation agenda includes dedicated representation of the smaller scale sector that makes up 80% of the overall fleet by number, and has suffered historically from lack of genuine inclusion.
Claims that some organisations represent all sectors both large and small has clearly been shown to be a fallacy. Whilst we are “all fishermen”, there are different segments within the overall catching sector and it is important that in many cases the differing aims and aspirations of these sub sectors are taken into account. Experience to date has shown that it is largely only those with significant resources that are able to influence the direction of travel and the outcomes for fishers and fisheries. This has contributed to the failures of previous reforms whilst at the same time and for the first time, the positive influence of and contribution by smaller scale interests to the recent reform process has clearly resulted in a CFP that is potentially more fit for purpose.
It will therefore be vital that space and support is provided within the regionalisation process in general and the Advisory Committees in particular for dedicated small scale and low impact sectoral representation.

Simple and clear rules and stakeholder incentives:
As previously stated, we entirely support the “fundamental objective of simplifying the technical measures to make them easier to understand and enforce”. It is an equally fundamental requirement that the Commission backs up these fine words with courageous action, even if it means, counter intuitively, that they should reduce rather than retain or increase management requirements.

Effectiveness in the context of the landings obligation:
This section serves to underline previous comments made herein. It is our view that unless the Commission shows real leadership in sweeping away the failed previous management system that was underpinned by an equally counterproductive TM Regulation then we are in danger of making things worse, not better. It will be of paramount importance that the new CFP encourages and supports compliance if the aims of the landings obligation are to be fulfilled.

Furthering the ecosystem approach:
We support the ecosystem approach but consider in many cases that the introduction of protective measures for vulnerable species and habitats have not been introduced and implemented effectively. From a fishers perspective, it is vital that such sites are based on clear and explicit scientific grounds, that transparent and objective engagement is undertaken and that identified management requirements are included within a consultation, not bolted on subsequently. It is largely the management issues that are likely to affect fishers on a day to day basis. We remain concerned at the potential interactions, complexities and effects, unintended or otherwise that will be inherent with the introduction of the MSFD and the WFD, together with the CFP and other similar regulations.

3. How to address these challenges?
We entirely concur with the views expressed in this section with the exception of the understanding of “revision”. A straightforward revision exercise will not be sufficient and is likely to merely plan for failure rather than produce a strong foundation for a better future.

Simplification and regionalisation:
Regionalisation is all very well but it will only work effectively in the event that the aforementioned stakeholder involvement is genuinely inclusive, especially with regard to the voice of dedicated small scale representation. Whilst regionalisation brings decision making closer to those likely to be most affected and who have an interest in the production of successful and effective management plans, it will be of equal importance than any such plans clearly recognise and include the smaller scale operators within the region. The new CFP provides a massive opportunity to ensure that fisheries management throughout the EU does finally, and after many less meaningful reforms, recognise and reward those elements of the catching sector that have not contributed to the decline of so many fish stocks and damage to the marine environment yet who continue to contribute most in terms of employment and support for the culture and socio economic aspects of often vulnerable coastal communities. It is about time that whilst regional management plans can be “tailor made to the specificities of different fisheries”, recognition of those different sub sectors within regional fisheries is genuinely addressed.
The legal framework described within the consultation that could contain a limited number of common and permanent provisions will in turn require a far more dynamic approach to regional and indeed more local fisheries management than has previously been the case. There are strong arguments in favour of this approach, on both a general and species specific basis but the appropriate tools, as well as a stakeholder involvement methodology must be provided.
The new management approaches that the reformed CFP provides for must finally support the aim of ensuring best value for the widest number of operators and individuals, rather than favouring those with the greatest resources and therefore influence. Deriving the maximum social, economic and environmental benefits from limited resources and recognising and rewarding those who contribute most to those aspirations should be a keystone of the new Regulation.
We consider that the transition period should have sufficient flexibility to allow fishers time to come to grips with any new requirements without the immediate imposition of penalties for clear mistakes and misunderstandings. This will be of particular importance in the event that the Commission shows wise leadership in ushering in a new, rather than a revised regime. We further suggest that the clean slate approach in utilised, with perhaps reserve legislation in the background, that could be easily implemented in the event that fishers failed to meet the requirements of the new CFP in general and Article 15 in particular.

Question Box 1:
At the present time, we consider that meeting the requirements of Article 15 on will be sufficient incentive for fishers without the need for a raft of additional and complex regulations. Experience suggests that it will be impossible and indeed counterproductive to attempt to create a complex set of requirements that would meet the variety and ever changing conditions faced by the multitude of fishers, even at a regional level.
The baseline elements should be the overarching requirements within the CFP that will incentivise fishers without the need for further legislative details.
Whilst most smaller scale operators are not subject to such rules as those related to catch composition etc, we have as a sector suffered through their imposition. They have been counterproductive to genuine sustainability and should be deleted, along with any other such requirements, now defunct.
With the greatest respect, the way to ensure that “rules are simple and clear” is to make them simple and clear. We have said before that there is absolutely no point in merely exchanging one set of complex and counterproductive rules for another. The Commission really has to break the cycle of attempting to manage fisheries in this way and recognise that a new and revolutionary approach is necessary if we are to finally move to genuinely long term sustainable fisheries.
Incentivising stakeholders:
We are pleased to see mention of the need to demonstrate ‘low impact’ and would only say that as the sector we operate within is almost exclusively low impact, that this needs to be recognised and rewarded. The new CFP should not just be about incentivising change, beneficial though that may be but also encouraging and supporting those who already meet such high ideals.

Question Box 2:
We fail to understand the need for certification of mesh sizes etc and the proposed introduction of “soft law” [that we consider an unnecessary potential confusion] when the Landings Obligation will provide all the incentive required for fishers to ensure an appropriate mesh size to avoid unwanted catches. This will be of particular value and importance in incentivising fishers to avoid catches of juvenile fish and those below the MCRS.

Question Box 3:
We do not consider that a simple and straightforward set of technical measures can ever meet the ever changing conditions in fisheries, even at a regional level on their own. This is why we believe that the new CFP provides sufficient incentives within the Articles therein to incentivise fishers. Attempting to maintain previous micro management will inevitably result in a vicious circle of ever increasing and complex rules that will take us back, rather than forward. Provided that MCRS are set appropriately, ie, to protect juveniles then there should be little need for much else. Meeting the requirements of Articles 2(2), 15 and 17, allied to effective MCRS’s will be sufficient to ensure long term and sustainable fisheries. Having said that, we do not consider that anyone, fishers or managers can be entirely confident of just how the requirements of the new CFP will play out. It is nevertheless vital that fishers are given the time and opportunity to meet those requirements without being bombarded with detailed regulations that will undermine the aims of the reform process. It will be of equal importance that the introduction of what is a plethora of new and revised legislation is not done in one ‘big bang’ approach and that there is a settling in period where fishers will need time to understand the complex requirements and amend their practices accordingly.
The reformed CFP is focused quite correctly on the need to avoid unwanted catches. For the most part, smaller scale passive gear operators have little in the way of unwanted catches and the focus should therefore be on supporting fishers to remove the unwanted element of catches in the larger scale mobile gear fisheries. With regard to the mention of ‘moving on’ provisions, it should be noted that smaller scale operators do not have the ability to move away to other areas, limited as they are by vessel and engine size, weather and tides. It is this that makes them more conscious than most of the need to preserve what is on their doorstep. It is clear that the catch quota trials in support of the new CFP have shown that for larger vessels, steaming away from an area is a viable, if not particularly cost effective option. This is not an option for smaller vessels.
There is no doubt that any and all detailed provisions in this respect should be developed on a regional basis, rather than through co decision.
The main driver for discards within the smaller scale fleet is lack of access to quota.
Minimising the ecosystem impact of fishing gears:
We have mentioned the ecosystem based approach earlier in this note. The key to success in this respect on a regional basis will be the encouragement and support for genuine interaction between all parties, with decisions made on scientific grounds and based on a joined up approach to research to underpin those decisions. A healthy ecosystem is vital for all, especially locally based smaller scale operators who act as stewards of the sea. Their gears and methods tend to have a low impact on marine environmental elements and fishers are always keen to work together with other parties in support of the marine environment. There are an increasing number of examples of fisher / NGO partnerships that have developed workable MPA’s that meet the aims and aspirations of all concerned but without unnecessary reductions in the ability of local fishers to maintain their livelihoods.

Question Box 4:
The introduction of mitigation measures should always be done in partnership and co-management between all interested and affected parties. Experience has shown that a genuine and transparent co-management approach produces effective yet pragmatic safeguards for vulnerable habitats and species. Whilst sometimes hard choices have to be made, there are opportunities for low impact fishers to operate within sensitive areas, maintaining a traditional way of life whilst at the same time respecting and preserving important features. Mitigation measures are almost inevitably region specific from a small scale perspective and often need to be reduced to a local basis.
Question Box 5:
On the principle of a level playing field, and notwithstanding some local differences, it will be important for all concerned, irrespective of region, to be treated in a similar way, with similar requirements. The provision of a common framework would be helpful, provided that there were variations permitted based on regional requirements.

Conclusion:
Everyone connected with the development, introduction and implementation of the new CFP is rightly and understandably nervous. It is a major step forward in terms of management and there are many opportunities for mistakes to be made along the way. These issues should not however be used as an excuse for failure to live up to the aspirations of the Reform.
We consider that the requirements of Articles 2(2), 15, and 17, taken together and implemented fairly will provide a genuine basis for fair and equitable access to and use of the resources whilst maintaining and improving marine environmental aspects as well as underpinning the socio economic and cultural elements of local fishers and fisheries.
There is a real danger that attempting to produce what will inevitably have to be a very significant range of detailed technical conservation requirements to cover every aspect of fishing operations across a number of regions would be disastrous. It is clear from the consultation paper that the Commission recognises the challenges but they must have the courage of their convictions and give fishers sufficient freedom to develop systems that meet the requirements of the regulations without the inclusion or retention of counterproductive and onerous additional rules.

JSP 1.4.14

You are viewing the text version of this site.

To view the full version please install the Adobe Flash Player and ensure your web browser has JavaScript enabled.

Need help? check the requirements page.


Get Flash Player