European Union and the United Kingdom - fisheries consultations: written record 2023

Written record of fisheries consultations between the United Kingdom and the European Union for 2023.

Technical measures

a) The Delegations agreed on the value of approaches to technical measures to support the recovery of depleted stocks and deliver wider benefits in terms of fisheries management. As such, the Delegations committed to the Parties working closely together via the SCF to assess and review, where appropriate, in 2023 the effectiveness of technical measures in the Celtic Sea, Irish Sea and West of Scotland and from there, as a result, to continue to explore their potential benefits where appropriate.

b) Celtic Sea

i. In relation to Celtic Sea technical measures, the Delegations recognised that some technical measures may be more effective when brought into effect by both Parties. The Parties agreed to continue working together, through the SCF, to develop effective and practical additional coordinated measures, including possible spatial and gear-based technical measures to substantially reduce Celtic Sea cod catches with the aim of supporting the recovery of the stock. Consideration should be given to effective new measures in areas with the highest cod catches and abundance in UK and EU waters of the Celtic Sea, to be identified by 1 June 2023 with a view to their implementation as soon as possible in 2024 (subject to each Party’s respective internal processes).

ii. The Delegations noted progress made through the SCF in the last year, including commencing a joint data collation activity and agreeing an evaluation framework to apply to new collaborative measures in the Celtic Sea.

iii. The Delegations also reconfirmed their commitment (made at the SCF meeting of 20 July 2022) to complete the data collation activity by February 2023, and committed to agreeing a timetable in early 2023 for the next steps in identifying new co-ordinated measures by 1 June 2023. Further, the Delegations agreed to ensure that all the necessary data is made available to support the data collation activity in a timely way.

c) Irish Sea and West of Scotland

i. The Delegations recognised the depleted state of the Irish Sea whiting and cod stocks, and West of Scotland cod stocks, and agreed to continue to examine appropriate technical measures in 2023 with a view to making effective reductions of unwanted bycatch within these sea basins.

ii. The Delegations recognised the depleted state of the Irish Sea whiting stock and agreed to continue to progress the introduction of improved technical measures within their respective waters of the Irish Sea, focussing on making effective reductions of Irish Sea whiting bycatches within the Nephrops fishery. In this context the Delegations noted in particular the positive results shown by Northern Irish trials of ‘coverless trawls’ (highly selective gear) in reducing catches of whiting.

iii. The Delegations also agreed to consider (inter alia) enhanced data collection and enhanced fisheries monitoring to further support efforts to reduce bycatch of vulnerable stocks in the Irish Sea Nephrops fishery, and cod by-catches in the West of Scotland demersal trawl fisheries.

iv. The Delegations recognised that a joint evaluation framework and data collation activity for technical measures, similar to the one agreed by the Parties through the 2022 SCF process for Celtic Sea technical measures, would be beneficial for the Irish Sea and West of Scotland in the future.

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