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The Landing Obligation & Discarding News: 2016

October 2016

  • The North Sea (NS) regional group (technical officials) met on 4 October. A discussion took place on choke species and it was agreed that various solutions should be explored further.
  • The NS regional group of Directors (High Level Group) met on 18 October. The group agreed that action is required on choke species and agreed with the proposal to include the issue on the agenda for November Council.
  • The NWW regional group (technical officials) met on 18/19 October. In addition to choke species, the meeting discussed preparations for 2017 and the development of a joint recommendation for a deep sea landing obligation in 2017 (we do not anticipate any consequences for the Scottish industry on this due to the thresholds being proposed).
  • GITAG phase II has been awarded a grant under EMFF. This project will run up to March 2020 and is aiming to conduct 14 Nephrops trials and eight whitefish trials.
  • The Finance Secretary has now passed the UKG EU funding on in full, guaranteeing the EMFF fund until the UK leaves the EU.
  • The NS Advisory Council held a symposium on choke species on 2/3 November. There were various presentations focusing on developing solutions to the choke problem. Presentations will be available on the NSAC website shortly. Jane Macpherson from Marine Scotland attended and delivered a presentation on the Edinburgh choke species workshop held in April this year. The presentation called for collective action and the need to consider all possible solutions to make the landing obligation work. 
  • The Cabinet Secretary spoke at the SFF Annual Dinner on 2 November. In his speech, Mr Ewing confirmed his on-going commitment to the landing obligation but also stated clearly that he would not see the Scottish fleet unnecessarily tied to the quayside because of choke species.
  • The issue of choke species was discussed as an AOB item at the November Agrifish Council on 14 November. The UK introduced the item for discussion as the UK requested that it be added to the agenda (in its capacity as current Chair of the NWW Regional Group). Mr Ewing attended the Council.
  • A meeting of the NWW regional group (High Level Group) took place on 15 November. Items on the agenda included choke species, discussion of the Control Expert Group paper on enforcement options, the deep sea landing obligation and the approach to phasing for 2018. 
  • Marine Scotland officials will continue to develop case studies for the various choke species ideas under discussion at the Regional Groups. We will seek SDSG  input into this work. 
  • Discardless intends to publish its Selectivity Manual and gear factsheets before the end of November 2016. Marine Scotland Science will ensure industry and NGOs are made aware of their publication.
  • The Access to Sea Fisheries team has issued 2017 landing obligation guidance. Marine Scotland is starting to consider options for the phasing in of the landing obligation in 2018 (this will be the topic of detailed discussion in the Regional Groups at the start of 2017). We will consult SDSG shortly on this.
  • Having sought and received advice from STECF at its winter plenary, the Commission is now considering its proposals for quota top-ups for 2017. Marine Scotland has not yet seen any figures for any new phasing planned for 2017, but we expect to see these appearing in Commission papers in the coming weeks for internal stock, and at Round 2 of EU/Norway (28 November – 2 December) for North Sea jointly-managed stocks

September 2016

  • The North Western Waters (NWW) regional group (technical officials) met on 5/6 September. The focus of the meeting was to develop solutions for choke species, based on the ideas previously generated. A very detailed and useful discussion took place with discussion ranging from the possibility of securing additional high survivability exemptions, to the creation of others quotas. The NWWAC and the PelAC attended the meeting and their ideas were also considered.
  • The NWW regional group of Directors (High Level Group) met on 28 September. The work programme for the overall regional group was agreed. The HLG agreed that the challenge presented by some choke species is significant and that solutions must to be developed. The HLG has now tasked the technical group to develop case studies for a range of choke species solutions. The HLG has proposed that an agenda item on choke species be requested for inclusion at November Council.
  • Marine Scotland quota managers have concluded consultation with POs about the allocation of the discard transfer in 2017. It has been decided to continue the same basic approach as in 2016, based on POs’ share of recent landings of the stocks in question, but with some minor adjustment to accommodate the position of new-build vessels.
  • The North Sea (NS) regional group (technical officials) met on 4 October. A discussion took place on choke species and it was agreed that various solutions should be explored further. This work will be informed by the discussion which is planned to take place at the NS Advisory Council symposium on choke species in Copenhagen on 2/3 November. Marine Scotland officials will be in attendance at the symposium.
  • The NS regional group of Directors (High level Group) will meet on 18 October. In addition to discussion on choke species, the group will consider the work of the Control Experts Group.
  • The NWW regional group (technical officials) will meet on 18/19 October. In addition to choke species, the meeting will discuss preparations for 2017, an update from the Commission on quota uplift calculations, and the likely development of a joint recommendation for a deep sea landing obligation in 2017 (we do not anticipate any consequences for the Scottish industry on this due to the thresholds being proposed).
  • Marine Scotland officials will continue to develop case studies for the various choke species ideas under discussion at the Regional Groups. We will seek Scottish stakeholder input into this work. 
  • The Access to Sea Fisheries team is planning to issue 2017 landing obligation guidance during November 2016.
  • Discardless intends to publish its Selectivity Manual and gear factsheets before the end of November 2016. Marine Scotland Science will ensure industry and NGOs are made aware of their publication.
  • Marine Scotland will be reviewing the data collected by skippers on discards as part of an up-and-coming report to the Commission on progress with the landing obligation. This will also help inform our on-going review of de minimis. We will consult the SDSG shortly about use of de minimis exemptions and continued need beyond 2017. Skippers are reminded of the importance of recording data related to de minimis and the landing obligation in general so that Marine Scotland can monitor implementation effectively.
  • GITAG phase II has now been awarded a grant under EMFF. This project will run up to March 2020 and is aiming to conduct 14 Nephrops trials and eight whitefish trials

August 2016

  • Preparatory work took place within Marine Scotland to consider ideas relating to choke species, in advance of the North Western Waters (NWW) regional group (technical officials) meeting. The focus of the work was to consider the ideas developed at the previous workshop in April and any additional ideas generated in discussions with industry and other stakeholders. 
  • Discussions took place with Seafish on its contribution to the choke species issue and an update to its choke species model
  • Marine Scotland continued work to review the current De Minimis exemptions and to consider viable cases to be developed for the landing obligation in 2018 and 2019
  • Annual FIS conference – 23/24 August in St Andrews
  • Both GITAG and SIDI EMFF bids were discussed at the Project Assessment Committee on Monday 12 September.  Final decisions on funding will be taken shortly.
  • The NWW regional group (technical officials) met on 5/6 September. The focus of the meeting was to develop solutions for choke species, based on the ideas previously generated. A very detailed and useful discussion took place with discussion ranging from the possibility of securing additional high survivability exemptions, to the creation of others quotas. The NWWAC and the PelAC attended the meeting and their ideas were also considered. The outputs from the meeting will now be discussed by the NWW High Level Group of Directors when they meet on 28 September.

  • The North Sea (NS) regional group (technical officials) will meet on 4 October and it is anticipated that similar issues around choke species will be discussed

  • Marine Scotland officials will now work with other Member States to develop the detail around some of the choke species ideas, including ‘others quotas’

  • Before the end of September 2016, Marine Scotland quota managers will consult POs about allocation of 2017 uplifts

  • Access to Sea Fisheries team is planning to issue 2017 landing obligation guidance during November 2016

  • Discardless intends to publish its Selectivity Manual and gear factsheets before the end of November 2016. Marine Scotland Science will ensure industry and NGOs are made aware of their publication.

June 2016

  • The draft Joint Recommendations for the North Sea (NS) and North Western Waters (NWW) have been submitted to the Commission and have been reviewed by the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF). STECF has submitted a number of comments to Member States on the proposed de minimis and high survivability exemptions and has requested further information.

  • A summary of the draft Joint Recommendations was shared with the Scottish Discards Steering Group (SDSG) on 21 June.

  • A draft workplan for the NWW Regional Group has been developed by Defra and the devolved administrations, and will now be shared with Member States and the NWW Advisory Council

  • ICES advice for 2017 was published on 30 June

  • SDSG meeting took place on 24 June. An overview of the draft Joint Recommendations was provided. The majority of the meeting was taken up with workshops on potential solutions to choke species. Minutes will be circulated in due course.

  • The new Cabinet Secretary, Fergus Ewing, has undertaken some initial meetings with stakeholders, including attending the SFF Ex Com meeting on 20 June. Mr Ewing also attended the Ag/Fish Council in Luxembourg on 27 June.

  • Marine Scotland, along with Defra and the other devolved administrations, continued to contribute to discussions with EU institutions about amendment/repeal of the Cod Recovery Plan

  • The Cabinet Secretary answered a parliamentary question on the landing obligation on 16 June. Details can be found here.

  • The NWW Regional Group (technical officials) will meet on 19 July to discuss the forward work programme, which will include; drafting of the 2018 discard plans, including additional phasing in of species; and options for managing choke species.
  • The NWW Advisory Council will meet on 5 to 7 July in Edinburgh
  • The North Sea Regional Group will resume its meetings later this year – there are currently no meetings scheduled over the summer
  • Work will take place within Marine Scotland to consider the outputs from the SDSG workshop on choke species
  • EU political agreement has been achieved on amendment of the Cod Recovery Plan (CRP). The Council of Ministers, Commission and Parliament have agreed – in trilogue negotiation – amendments to the CRP which mean that:
  1. the system of days at sea controls for whitefish and Nephrops vessels is repealed
  2. the quota setting mechanism, including the 20% constraint on TAC changes, is repealed, and
  3. as a consequence North Sea Cod will become subject to the landing obligation in 2017, but only for the whitefish fleet and not the smaller mesh Nephrops fleet
  • It is expected that the agreed text on the CRP will be formally endorsed by the Council and the Parliament in sufficient time for the amended regulation to take effect prior to the setting of 2017 fishing opportunities
  • An application for phase 2 of the industry-led GITAG project (Gear Innovation Technology Advisory Group) has been submitted to EMFF
  • Marine Scotland officials are available to attend local meetings with associations and their members to discuss the landing obligation. Please contact Paul McCarthy if you would like to discuss: paul.mccarthy@gov.scot

 May 2016

  • Marine Scotland, together with Defra and the other devolved administrations, has worked to finalise the Draft 2017 Joint Recommendations (i.e. Discard Plans) for North Western Waters (NWW) and North Sea (NS) which will shortly be submitted to the Commission alongside all new exemption requests (WS1)

  • Marine Scotland, in conjunction with Defra and the other devolved administrations, has continued to contribute to discussions with EU institutions about amendment and/or repeal of the Cod Recovery Plan (CRP) (WS1)

  • For the NS, the draft Joint Recommendation proposes that the following species will be introduced to the landing obligation in 2017 - Sole, Whiting & Cod* (*subject to the repeal or amendment of the Cod Recovery Plan) for large mesh fishery; Haddock for small mesh fishery; Sole, Haddock & Whiting for Ports, Creels & Traps; and Nephrops, Sole, Haddock & Whiting for Long-liners & handliners. The exemptions for 2016 will continue i.e. high survivability and de minimis for nephrops (WS1).

  • For the NWW, the draft Joint Recommendation proposes the following species will be introduced to the landing obligation in 2017 - Sole, Plaice and Megrim added plus a reduction in threshold to 5% for the Whitefish fishery;  Haddock added plus a reduction of threshold to 20% for the Nephrops fishery; and the threshold to be reduced to 20% for the Hake fishery. The exemptions for 2016 will continue (i.e. high survivability and de minimis for nephrops) and new ones will be submitted including a proposed de minimis exemption for Megrim from Spain. Scotland is broadly supportive of this proposal pending views of STECF (WS1).

  • Marine Scotland has continued to contribute to Control Expert Groups' discussions for NWW and NS on the proposed text for inclusion in a delegated act about control on high risk pelagic vessels (WS1)

  • A paper summarising the outcomes of the international ‘Access to Quota’ (i.e. choke species) workshop which took place in Edinburgh on 14-15 April was shared with the High Level Groups of the North Sea, North Western Waters and South Western Waters (WS1)

  • Invitations have been issued for the next Scottish Discards Steering Group (SDSG) which will focus on agreeing solutions to deal with choke species. As specified in the invitation, we are keen to extend the invitations beyond the SDSG grouping. If there is extensive demand for this event, we will consider alternative venues (WS1).

  • Marine Scotland attended Aberdeen PO’s Board meeting to discuss quota matters and the landing obligation (WS1 and WS4i)

  • Industry-led initiative GITAG met earlier this month to agree a Memorandum of Understanding and to assess phase 2 trials funding bids (WS2)

  • Marine Scotland issued an offer via SDSG to discuss the consequences of the extension of the landing obligation in 2017 with associations and their members (WS5)

  • A new Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy & Connectivity has been appointed – Mr Fergus Ewing MSP

  • The draft Joint Recommendations for NS and NWW to be reviewed by STECF (WS1)

  • Marine Scotland to work alongside Defra and the devolved administrations to develop a Work Programme for the North Western Waters Regional Groups, which the UK will chair between July and December 2016, to be shared with Member States and the NWW Advisory Council (WS1)

  • Marine Scotland to undertake preparations for the SDSG meeting focusing on choke species on 24 June (WS1)

  • Marine Scotland to deliver updates on the extension of the landing obligations and the implications for particular fleets via Association meetings (WS5)

  • Marine Scotland officials are working with the new Cabinet Secretary’s office to organise a round of introductory meetings with key stakeholders

April 2016

  • Marine Scotland, alongside Defra, continues to participate in North Sea and North Western Waters meetings and discussions around further phasing-in of the landing obligation (WS1)
  • Marine Scotland has kept the Scottish Discards Steering Group informed of progress on discussions around the introduction of additional species to the landing obligation and lowering the thresholds in North Western Waters for 2017 (WS1)
  • The international ‘Access to quota’ (i.e. choke species) workshop took place in Edinburgh on 14-15 April. Nine Member States, four Advisory Councils, EAPO and the Commission attended. The draft outcomes of the workshop, together with the presentations, have been circulated to attendees and the UK is now working to produce a report that will be shared with the High Level Groups outlining the outcomes of the discussion (WS1).
  • Marine Scotland provided feedback to industry on their proposal for a de minimis exemption for saithe (WS1)
  • Marine Scotland met a selection of industry representatives at the request of SFO on 19 April to discuss the application of de minimis (WS1)
  • Work to continue on preparing the Draft 2017 Joint Recommendations (i.e. Discard Plans) for North Western Waters and North Sea ahead of its submission to the Commission by the end of May (WS1)

  • Work to continue to prepare a paper summarising the outcomes of the ‘Access to Quota’ Workshop for High Level Groups’ consideration (WS1)

  • Marine Scotland will issue an invitation to the next meeting of the Scottish Discards Steering Group (SDSG) in June which will focus on solutions to choke species (WS1)

  • Work to continue within the Control Expert Groups for North Western Waters and North Sea on the proposed text for inclusion in a delegated act about control on high risk pelagic vessels (WS1)

  • Industry-led initiative GITAG will meet in May to agree a Memorandum of Understanding and to assess funding bids for phase 2 trials (WS2)

  • Marine Scotland will attend Aberdeen PO’s Board meeting in mid-May to discuss quota matters and the continuation of the landing obligation (WS1 and WS4i)

  • Marine Scotland will issue an offer via SDSG to discuss the consequences of the extension of the landing obligation in 2017 to individual vessels and/or their associations (WS5)

March 2016

  • Marine Scotland, alongside Defra, contributed to North Sea and North Western Waters meetings, and preparations for the round of meetings are under way (WS1)

  • The Scottish Discards Steering Group (SDSG) met on 17 March – draft minutes have been circulated to members of the group (WS1)

  • Discussions continue with Member States on further phasing in North Western Waters. Marine Scotland has reflected on comments made by industry during the SDSG meeting particularly in relation to saithe, and has made Defra and Member States aware of these concerns (WS1).

  • Invitations to the international ‘Access to quota’ (i.e. choke species) workshop on 14-15 April have been issued. Member States have been asked to complete a ‘homework’ template in advance of the workshops to categorise their choke species, plus Member States and the ACs have been invited to submit expressions of interest for delivering a presentation at the workshop (WS1).

  • Marine Scotland attended the Danish Workshop on International Quota Swapping on 11 March 2016 in Copenhagen (WS1)

  • Marine Scotland is working with industry on their proposal to bid for a de minimis exemption for saithe and has received no proposals from industry of a haddock de minimis (WS1)

  • The UK has submitted a proposal to the European Commission on a pilot project to test and demonstrate the effectiveness of a spurdog avoidance tool. Discussions with the Commission have been encouraging and engagement with them will continue ahead of the next in-year amendment in order to progress this matter (WS2).

  • Marine Scotland has issued a consultation outlining a proposed Clyde Herring TAC for 2016 (WS4ii)

  • ICES Herring Assessment Working Group met this week to consider the Commission’s request for advice on appropriate herring TACs for areas VIaN and VIaS/VIIb,c to support the PELAC rebuilding plan for this stock. It is hoped that the outcome of this work will be available by early May (WS4ii).

  • Scottish POs have submitted landing obligation management plans for 2016 to Marine Scotland, describing a range of initiatives by which they will assist members in implementing the obligation (WS4i)

  • Marine Scotland will meet industry representatives on 19 April to discuss and agree common understanding on de minimis application (WS1)

  • Marine Scotland will attend an Aberdeen PO’s Board meeting in late April/mid-May to discuss quota matters and the continuation of the landing obligation, further to discussions at the SDSG (WS1 and WS4i)

  • Marine Scotland, alongside Defra and the devolved administrations, is considering its attendance at the first meeting of the NWW ‘article 11’ sub-group which will take place on 26 April in Paris (WS3)

  • Work to continue within the Control Expert Groups for North Western Waters and North Sea on the proposed text for inclusion in a delegated act about control on high risk pelagic vessels

  • Marine Scotland will prepare an initial response on tech con regulation for Working Group and Luxemburg Council. A Scottish group including industry will be convened to help develop policy positions on fine technical details (WS4).

February 2016

  • Marine Scotland, alongside Defra, continues to contribute to North Sea and North Western Waters meetings

  • Annual report on pelagic landing obligation implementation submitted to the Commission

  • Discussions continue with Scottish industry representatives on further phasing in North Western Waters

  • Draft agenda prepared for the international Choke Species workshop to be held in Edinburgh in mid-April

  • Preparations made for the next meeting of the Scottish Discards Steering Group (SDSG) on 17 March

  • Phase 1 GITAG-funded projects trials have commenced

  • Preparations to be made for the NS High Level Group on 08 March

  • Next meeting of Landing Obligation Internal Steering Group to be held on 10 March 2016

  • Marine Scotland will join Defra at the Danish Workshop on International Quota Swapping to be held on 11 March 2016 in Copenhagen

  • Next meeting with industry and NGOs via the Scottish Discards Steering Group to be held on 17 March 2016

  • Marine Scotland to work with industry to prepare the evidence to support their bid for haddock de minimis exemption

  • Invitations to be issued to Member States technical experts and ACs to the International Choke Species Workshop in April 2016

  • Industry to be consulted on proposals for this year’s Skipper Roadshow/One-to-Ones
     

January 2016

  • The draft delegated regulations for the North Sea and North Western Waters were formally adopted on 01 January 2016

  • Marine Scotland, alongside Defra, attended the first North Sea and North Western Waters Technical Group meetings of 2016 in mid-January

  • Marine Scotland worked with Defra and other Devolved Administrations to compile an annual report on the implementation of the pelagic landing obligation to present to the Commission

  • With regard to phasing in for 2017 in NWW, industry representatives have informed Marine Scotland that they wish to reflect on lessons learned from 2016 before agreeing future phasing. Marine Scotland has expressed concerns that such a move would be counter-active in the avoidance of a big bang in 2019. Discussions at the NWW HLG should clarify the overall approach to be taken phasing-in in 2017.

  • Marine Scotland has invited industry to notify it of any exemptions to be sought for 2017 and beyond

  • Phase 1 GITAG-funded projects were notified prior to Christmas. The delay in assessing gear trial proposals means that vessel charters will now take place between January and May 2016. GITAG is also reviewing its current communications strategy and is looking at how to increase access and engagement with industry representatives.

  • Marine Scotland officials have been working with the Fishery Office network to answer queries and remind industry of the guidance surrounding the handling and disposal of below minimum size (BMS) catch

  • Marine Scotland sought industry’s views on proposed Days at Sea rules and subsequently confirmed these to affected vessels

  • Marine Scotland contributed to a workshop on Inter-Sspecies Flexibility (ISF) with other Member States on 04 November 2015, and agreed a set of high-level principles for its use

  • Marine Scotland has sought the views of the Scottish Discards Steering Group on which species could be introduced next (i.e. from 2017 onwards) within the North West Waters, but received no responses

  • Guidance on the implementation of the demersal landing obligation in Scotland in 2016 was issued to all Scottish fishing vessel licensees in hard copy format via Fishery Offices and via email on 3 December 2015

  • WWF Scotland held a lunchtime seminar for MSPs and Parliamentary staff on ‘Implementing the Discards Ban in Scotland’ on 26 November, hosted by Angus MacDonald MSP. The Cabinet Secretary delivered a short update on progress.

  • GITAG project applicants have been notified as to whether their proposals have been successful. The GITAG Project Manager and Gear Technologists are working with those who were successful to finalise gear specifications and put in place the necessary arrangements for their trials to commence.

  • Marine Scotland officials have worked with other Member States via NS and NWW Regional Groups to seek clarity from the Commission on issues relating to the management of undersize fish and to outline our shared definition of ‘indirect human consumption’

  • SG and Producer Organisations (POs) have now agreed outline plans and timing for the operation of licensing and quota management in 2016. SG will propose Days at Sea rules for 2016-17 in January 2016.

  • December Council negotiations have concluded and details have been communicated to industry, positive outcome for Scotland across key stocks. Further work to be done through STECF on Western Herring and inter-area flexibilities.