Publication - Research and analysis

Management Of The Scottish Inshore Fisheries; Assessing The Options For Change

Published: 7 Jan 2015
Part of:
Marine and fisheries
ISBN:
9781785440427

An analysis of the impacts from different options for the management of the Scottish Inshore fisheries. In particular, the report provides an appraisal of scenarios related to restrictions on the use of mobile fishing gears within one and three nautical m

375 page PDF

8.9 MB

375 page PDF

8.9 MB

Contents
Management Of The Scottish Inshore Fisheries; Assessing The Options For Change
2 INSHORE FISHERIES: MANAGEMENT AND INSTITUTIONAL BACKGROUND

375 page PDF

8.9 MB

2 INSHORE FISHERIES: MANAGEMENT AND INSTITUTIONAL BACKGROUND

This study is reliant on primary and secondary data collected by Marine Scotland ( MS) for use in particular functions and inevitably for the purposes of this study the existing data is not in an ideal form. This is because landings are reported according to ICES Statistical rectangles which are not correspond with the 0-1 and 0-3 NM zones. MS data therefore needed to be trimmed, scaled and variously manipulated to provide benchmark information on catches in the zones 0-1 and 1-3 NM. In addition to enable an assessment of the potential displacement effects, similar benchmark information was required for zones 3-6 and 6-12 NM. This benchmarking exercise had to be conducted for each IFG plus Shetland.

To understand how benchmark estimates were produced it is necessary to appreciate the starting point and the provenance of the MS data that were available. With respect to MS data, it is important to know such things as where, how, when and by whom data were collected. These issues are shaped by how inshore fisheries are managed, monitored, administered and enforced.

Another reason for highlighting aspects of institutional background is that this study is seeking to model the behaviour of fishery operators. Their response to the proposed mobile restrictions is influenced by economic stimuli such as changes in costs and revenue, but highly constrained by current fisheries policy measures.

Explanations in this study therefore make reference to various MS institutions, protocols and terminology. The policy options imply that it might be undesirable to use mobile gear in inshore areas. It is therefore appropriate briefly to outline the fisheries involved and the reasons for concern about the deployment of mobile gear inshore.

This section therefore outlines some key features of inshore fisheries management. It deals with the following

  • Inshore Fishery Groups
  • Key Species
  • Fishing Vessel Registration.
  • Vessel Licensing
  • Transfer and Use of Licences.
  • Quota Management.
  • Managing Effort.
  • Recoding Scottish Landings.
  • Registration of Buyers and Sellers.
  • Vessel Monitoring System

2.1 Inshore Fishery Groups ( IFGs)

The UK is a Member State of the EU and the terms of the CFP apply to all member state sea area. However, the 6 NM fishery limit is the area within which there are no historic access rights for non UK fishing vessels and thus, the Scottish Government has sole jurisdiction over these waters for fisheries management purposes. Scottish territorial waters extend to 12 NM, but between 6 and 12 NM the Scottish Government has sole jurisdiction for fisheries management purposes for shellfish apart from some areas where France and the Republic of Ireland have historic access rights between 12 and 6 for shellfish.

As an EU member any technical conservation measures under the CFP including the setting of a Minimum Landing Size ( MLS) for species of fish and shellfish applies can apply to all Scottish waters. The Scottish Government could seek to increase the MLS or enhance other technical conservation measures within its territorial waters, but these would only apply to UK vessels.

The IFGs are non-statutory bodies and aim to improve the management of Scotland's inshore fisheries out to 6 nautical miles and to give commercial inshore fishermen a strong voice in wider marine management developments.

Originally, six pilot IFGs were established in 2009 (covering the Outer Hebrides, the Clyde, the South-East of Scotland, the North West, Small Isles and Mull, and Moray Firth) and each developed an inshore fisheries management plan for their area.

Following on from this pilot, six new Inshore Fisheries Groups ( IFGs) cover the entire Scottish coast (except Shetland which has its own management arrangements). Arrangements for Orkney differ from other IFGs to reflect the local situation.

2.1.1 IFG Remit and Operation

"Having regard to the Marine Scotland Inshore Fisheries Strategy 2012 and the National Marine Plan, the Inshore Fisheries Group will consider, and work with Marine Scotland to advance, recommendations and proposals on matters connected to:

  • The development and implementation of regional policies and initiatives relating to the management and conservation of inshore fisheries, and impacts on the marine environment so as to ensure a viable fishing industry in the IFG Area and in Scotland more generally and the maintenance of sustainable fishing communities;
  • The development and implementation of measures designed to better conserve and sustainably exploit stocks of shellfish and sea fish (including salmon) in local IFG waters, and to enable local fishermen, other fishermen who rely on local waters for their livelihood, and other persons with an interest to contribute to such development; and,
  • The development of proposals for and approaches to Marine Scotland, IFMAC, Marine Planning Regions, other IFGs, and others with an interest in the fishery in relation to inshore fisheries management" [7]

Figure 2.1.1 IFG MAP

Figure 2.1.1 IFG MAP

The intention is that IFGs will be inclusive with respect to all relevant commercial fishing sectors within their area though representatives of fishermen from other Administrations may be included, whether as a full member or observer, at the discretion of IFGs. Members will generally be representatives of fishermen's associations comprising at least 10 vessels, although smaller associations can be included. Individual fishermen may also be members, to represent groups of non-affiliated fishermen, where Chairs agree.

2.2 The Key Species [8]

2.2.1 Nephrops

There are nephrop populations in the North Sea and waters to the west of Scotland, in open waters and sea lochs. They can be found at depths ranging from a few meters down to over 500m. Nephrops is the only shellfish species managed through the CFP Policy. Scotland is allocated the majority of the Total Allowable Catches ( TAC) in both the North Sea and on the Scottish west coast and takes over one third of the landings worldwide.

Nephrops are caught by trawls or by creels. Trawls for Nephrops are very similar to whitefish demersal gear but are generally more lightly rigged and have smaller regulation mesh size. A comparatively recent development is twin-trawling where a vessel tows two bottom trawls side by side using a single pair of otter boards to spread both nets enabling the vessel to catch more by sweeping a much greater area of sea bed. Nephrops spend most of their time in burrows, only coming out to feed and look for a mate. They are thus protected from trawls when in burrows. Males are more heavily exploited than females because 'berried' females rarely come out of the burrow.

Scottish creeling is for the most part undertaken by relatively small inshore vessels less than 18 metres. In 1999 monthly catch limits for Nephrops were established for the 10 m & under fleet. Virtually all creel caught Nephrops are sold to the live market, mostly on continental Europe. Creel caught Nephrops are tubed and stored in sea water before being transported live to market. The trawl fishery usually supplies fresh or frozen tails which require on-shore processing for, though some mobile operators are using tubes and live storage.

Current minimum landing sizes for Nephrops in the VIa are total length 70 mm and carapace length 20 mm, with tail sizes at 37 mm, whereas those in for the North Sea are total length 85 mm, carapace length 25 mm, with tail sizes being 46 mm. These MLs apply to both the creel and the trawl fishery.

With respect to the North Sea grounds of Farn Deep, Fladen Ground, and Moray Firth the ICES conclusion about stocks was that fishing mortality was below or near FMSY. This can be interpreted as the highest possible catch that can be maintained indefinitely. The Firth of Forth harvest rate was above FMSY. On the west Coast there are Nephrops fisheries in the North Minch, South Minch, the Clyde and the Sound of Jura and to a lesser extent at Stanton Bank. Over these areas stocks appear to be stable and fished around or below FMSY. For 2013 ICES advised the following limits on landings Barreto and Bailey (2013)

Functional Unit Landings Limit (Tonnes)
Farn Deeps 1,400
Fladen 10,000
Firth of Forth 1,400
Moray Firth 950
North Minch 4,200
South Minch 5,800
Clyde 5,600
Sound of Jura 800

2.2.2 Scallops

Two species of scallop are commercially exploited in Scottish waters; the larger king scallop and the smaller queen scallop.

In UK waters King Scallops (Pectin Maximus) king scallops become sexually mature at approximately 2-3 years old and 80-90 mm in shell length, but may live for over 20 years and grow to over 200 mm in undisturbed populations. (Tang 1941) They normally live buried within seabed sediment and in adulthood are relatively static and after settlement have predictable patterns of distribution. Over 95% of all king scallops landed in the UK are caught by "Newhaven" scallop dredges (Barreto and Bailey 2013). Newhaven dredges have a spring-loaded bar of 8-9 teeth, each up to 11 cm long designed to rake scallops out from the sediment and into a dredge net. The teeth on Newhaven dredge penetrate anywhere between 3-10 cm into the seabed with the spring-loaded bar flexing backwards to prevent snagging. The dredge net itself is made from steel rings to prevent damage to the net from the abrasive contact with the sea bed. Dredges are typically towed in gangs suspended from a towing bar which is fitted with rubber wheels designed to roll along the seabed Vessels can tow anywhere between 2 and 22 dredges on each side (Howarth and Stewart 2014).

According to Cappell et al (2013), there are 153 vessels with scallop licence entitlements but the active scallop fleet is around 100 vessels. The active fleet comprises two segments with smaller (generally <15 m) vessels exploiting inshore waters and larger vessels (20 m + length) exploiting inshore and offshore grounds around the UK.

King Scallops are also caught by hand divers with hand caught scallops commanding higher prices. Hand diving for scallops does not damage the scallop and does not have the benthic impact of dredges. Scallop divers can be more selective leaving smaller scallops to be harvested when they have reached the size preferred by the market. Commercial hand diving in Scotland involves around 40 to 50 full time divers (Cappell et al 2013)

Current EU legislation specifies a minimum landing size of 100 mm length, except in the Irish Sea where the limit is 110 mm. But there are no limits on landings in the form of TACs or quotas. In Scotland, additional management measures specific to the scallop fishery have been introduced.

  • In 1999, a restricted scallop licensing scheme was introduced in response to concerns about the expansion of scallop fishing effort.
  • In 2003 gear restrictions were introduced that vary according to where fishing takes place:
    • A maximum of 8 dredges per side can be towed in Scottish inshore waters (out to 6 nautical miles);
    • a maximum of 10 per side in any other part of the UK territorial sea adjacent to Scotland (out to 12 nautical miles);
    • 14 per side in any other part of the Scottish zone (out to 200 nautical miles).
    • The use of "French" dredges (a design incorporating water deflecting plates and rigid fixed teeth) is prohibited in Scottish inshore waters.

The main scallop assessment areas are: West of Kintyre, North West, Shetland and North East.

To the west of Scotland, Spewing Stock Biomass (SSB) has declined markedly in the last ten years. Estimates of fishing mortality for the west of Kintyre assessment area are high. The ICES advice is for a reduction in fishing mortality. Measures to increase spawning stock biomass should be considered for both the west of Kintyre and the North West assessment areas. These might include; limits on kilowatt-days or fleet size, spatial and temporal closures or limits on the quantity landed, either alone or in combination. ICES do recommend an increase in the minimum landing size for Scottish fisheries because the survival of discarded scallops is high and therefore most undersized scallops returned to the sea have the potential to grow. An increase in minimum landing size should increase the reproductive capacity of the stock, provided that there is no associated increase in fishing effort.

In the North West assessment area fishing mortality has reduced but stock levels remain low. The ICES, advice is for no increase in fishing mortality. In the North East and Shetland SSB appears relatively stable in recent years and the ICES advice is for no increase in fishing mortality in these areas. Barreto and Bailey (2013)

The smaller Queen scallops ( Aequipecten opercularis ) are also commercially targeted in Scotland though their landings are much less valuable than king scallops. Queen scallops mature between 1-2 years old and approximately 40 mm in shell length, and rarely live for more than 5-6 years or grow to more than 90 mm (Vause et al. 2006).

Queen scallops tend to sit on the surface of the seabed, are much more mobile than King Scallops and can swim 2-10 metres to avoid predators. Different fishing gears are used to catch queen scallops since unlike king scallops, queens are not buried. "Skid dredges" are similar to the Newhaven dredge but have skids which run along the top of the seabed instead of rubber wheels used on tow bars on the Newhaven dredge. On a skid dredge, a "tickler" chain replaces the Newhaven tooth. Tickler chains disturb queens on the seafloor, causing them to swim upwards where they can be caught by the net.

Queen Scallops can also be fished with otter trawls where a net is dragged across the seabed, held open by two trawl doors in front of the net. The otter trawl also features a tickler chains on the bottom of the net to disturb queens resting on the sea bed. Skid dredges are more effective in rough / coarse sediment areas and skid trawls in sandy / muddy areas (Vause et al. 2007). It is believed that fishing for queen scallops causes less of a disturbance to the seabed than dredging for king scallops (Collie et al. 2000)

2.2.3 Brown Crab

The brown crab is found all around the Scottish coast from inshore areas to offshore waters to depths exceeding 100 m. It inhabits rocky reefs, mixed coarse grounds and soft sediments particularly on the offshore grounds. Adults can undertake extensive seasonal migrations. The brown crab creel fishery is long standing and economically significant across Scotland with landings increasing in recent years. From the mid 1980s technological advances allowed the fishery to expand to offshore areas to the west and north of Scotland. The majority are landed in the second half of the year and a large proportion are exported live to markets in Europe.

The fishery is not subject to EU TAC regulations or national quotas although there are EU measures in place to restrict the fishing effort (kw days) of all vessels > 15 m. (including creel boats) in ICES Subarea VI. Vessels landing brown crabs in Scotland are required to hold a licence with a shellfish entitlement. Without this entitlement, vessels can only land 25 crabs per day. The main regulatory mechanism is a minimum landing size of 140 mm to the north of 56 degree line and 130 mm to the south of the 56 line (except for the Firth of Forth).

ICES assessments for the period 2006-2008 showed that most brown crab assessment units in Scotland were fished close to or above FMAX, which is used as a proxy for FMSY (-which can be interpreted as the highest possible catch (mortality) that can be maintained indefinitely). Fishing mortality was estimated to be significantly above FMAX in the Clyde, South Minch and South East. In the Hebrides and Sule, fishing mortality was close to FMAX . In Shetland, Orkney, North Coast and East Coast, the fishing mortality for females was close to FMAX , while males were fished above FMAX . Thus in many areas, reduction in fishing effort would produce a higher yield of brown crab.

2.2.4 Velvet Crab

Velvets are fast moving and most commonly found on rocky substrates down to depths of about 25 m. They are caught in the inshore creel fishery along with lobster and brown crab. Very few fishermen fish solely for 'velvets' and it was once viewed as a pest species. The Scottish creel fishery expanded in the early 1980s to satisfy demand in southern European markets, eventually becoming the largest velvet crab fishery in Europe. Historically, the fishery was associated with the Hebrides, South Minch and Orkney, but since 2002 landings on the east coast have increased substantially.

The fishery is not subject to EU TAC regulations or national quotas. Vessels landing velvets in Scotland are required to hold a licence with a shellfish entitlement. Without this entitlement, vessels can only land 25 crabs per day. The main regulatory mechanism is a minimum landing size of 65 mm in all areas except Shetland (70 mm, under the Shetland Regulating Order

ICES assessments for the period 2006-2008 showed that most velvet crab assessment units in Scotland were being fished close to or above FMAX Thus in some areas a higher yield could potentially be obtained by reducing the level of fishing effort.

2.2.5 Lobsters

The European lobster is found all around the coast of Scotland, typically on hard ground in relatively shallow waters and on the fringes of kelp beds. The majority of lobsters are caught in waters shallower than 30 m but they may be found as deep as 150 m. They do not undertake extensive migrations. There are important lobster creel fisheries in many areas around the Scottish coast.

Landings by Scottish vessels have increased substantially and in recent years, the majority of lobster landings have come from the South East, East Coast, Orkney, Hebrides, and South Minch.

The fishery is not subject to EU TAC regulations or national quotas. In Scotland, vessels landing lobsters are required to hold a licence with a shellfish entitlement. Without this entitlement, vessels can only land 5 lobsters per day. The main regulatory mechanism is a minimum landing size of 87 mm CL in all areas except Shetland (90 mm CL, under the Shetland regulating Order). There is a maximum landing size of 155 mm CL for females.

In most Scottish lobster fishery areas, ICES assessments for the period 2006-2008 show that mortality was close to or above FMAX . Thus in some areas a higher yield could potentially be obtained by reducing the level of fishing effort

2.3 Fishing Vessel Registration

With the exception of certain 10 m and under vessels, all commercial fishing vessels must be registered with the Registry of Shipping and Seamen (RSS). Vessel registration is renewable every five years. Registration is important because fishing vessel licences are only issued to vessels on the register. Also, any fishing vessel which has not held a fishing licence for at least 6 months may be removed from the register. RSS is therefore a potentially useful database.

2.4 Vessel Licensing

The fishing vessel licensing system is primarily a policy instrument which is used to control fishing effort so that fisheries management objectives can be met.

In the UK, a vessel that is registered with the Register of Shipping and Seamen is only allowed to fish commercially for sea fish and land its catch for profit, if it has the necessary licence to do so. The licence is crucial it authorises the Sea Areas in which a vessel can fish and the species of fish that can be targeted and landed. It is the mechanism of control that enables UK Fisheries Administrations to regulate fishing.

2.4.1 Licence categories [9]

There are some species which are prohibited and therefore cannot be fished by any UK vessel in any ICES Sea Area (e.g. salmon, migratory trout, big-eye tuna, bluefin tuna, angel sharks) Other species are unavailable in specific sea areas (e.g. Black Scabbardfish in Areas VIII, IX, X; Undulate Ray in VI, VII, VIII, IX).

Available fish stocks which can be fished are categorised as Category A (formerly "pressure stocks"), Category B (formerly non pressure stocks) or Category C (formerly "miscellaneous species")

A species could be defined as a stock which in one Sea Area no UK vessel may fish (e.g. Whiting in Area VIII), a pressure stock in one Sea Area (Whiting in Area IV) and a non pressure stock in another area (Whiting in Area VIIa).

This categorisation of stocks provides the basis of licence categories, as follows:

  • Category A (formerly 'Pressure Stock') Licence
  • Authorises fishing vessels over 10 metres overall length to fish for all available stocks, including 'pressure stocks' and up to 500 tonnes per calendar year of combined 'pelagic species' stocks.
  • Category A (Pelagic) Licence

There are separate licences for pelagic trawlers, pelagic pursers and pelagic freezers

with full fishing entitlement for all available Category A stocks, including demersal species and with the authority to fish for pelagic species stocks in excess of 500 tonnes per calendar year

  • Category A (10 Metre and Under) Licence

Authorises fishing vessels of 10 metres and under overall length to fish for all available (as for over 10m vessels) stocks

  • Category B (formerly 'Non-pressure Stock') Licence

Authorises fishing vessels over 10 metres overall length to fish for all available stocks, including 'non-pressure stocks' but excluding 'pressure stocks' (as previously defined)

  • Category C (formerly 'Miscellaneous Species') Licence

Authorises fishing vessels over 10 metres overall length to fish for all available stocks, except 'pressure stocks' and 'non-pressure stocks' (as previously defined)

2.4.2 Transfer and Use of Licences

  • No new licences are issued
  • To obtain a licence for the first time a new entrant would normally have to acquire the entitlement to licence a vessel from a current licence/entitlement holder.
  • A licence entitlement becomes available when it is no longer attached to an active fishing vessel. The vessel might have been scrapped or sold without the licence attached. This is commonly referred to as a 'hip pocket' entitlement.
  • An entitlement can remain valid for up to 5 years but if not used by then to license a vessel, it is surrendered and lost forever [10] .
  • Licences are transferable between vessels, either by single licence transfer or by aggregation of two or more entitlements.
  • 10 m & Under and Over 10 m groups are separate fleets for licensing purposes - no transfers of licences are permitted between these two groups.
  • Only licence entitlements of the same type and category, within each group may be aggregated together for the overall authority to continue; if not, the resulting authority of the 'new' licence is downgraded to the lowest common level.
  • Similarly all donor entitlements must have the same permission(s) for Beam Trawling and/or Scallop Dredging and/or Shellfishing, for these to be continued in the new licence.
  • With limited exceptions (license vessels by means of single licence transfer are exempt from penalty on tonnage and kilowatts), all aggregations are subject to capacity penalties: Currently, a capacity penalty of 5% is paid on both the kilowatts and tonnage, in transactions involving the aggregation of two or more full licence entitlements (AFL7). When elements of kilowatts and/or tonnage from disaggregated licence entitlements (ALF19) are used to license a vessel by either single licence transfer or by aggregation, then a capacity penalty of 10% is payable on those elements. For licence transactions involving the use of both full and disaggregated entitlements, a capacity penalty rate of 5% is applied against both the kilowatts and tonnage of the full entitlement and a capacity penalty rate of 10% is applied against the elements of kilowatts and/or tonnage from the disaggregated entitlement(s).

In addition to specifying the Sea Areas and species, under the Quota System the licence can specify the amount of a species that may be caught.

2.5 Quota Management

In December each year the EU Council of Ministers sets "Total Allowable Catches" (TACs) for various fish stocks for the following year. The UK Government is the allocating authority for UK fish quotas. Since May 2012, there has been agreement (the 2012 Concordat) through which the UK Government initially apportions UK fish quotas among the 4 UK Fisheries Administrations (i.e. Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales). The amount of quota that each Administration receives for each quota stock is calculated in general on the basis of the number of Fixed Quota Allocation ( FQA) units on the fishing licences administered by each Administration. (There are FQA units for almost all quota stocks). Once the UK quotas are apportioned, it is up to each Administration to decide how they wish to allocate their quota. In relation to most quota stocks, these allocations are made by the Scottish Government (mostly to fish Producer Organisations) according to the FQA method but, subject to consultation, the Scottish Government may (and indeed has) departed from this methodology where, for instance, it has allocated an increased share of the Scottish quota (e.g. North Sea cod) to the Scottish inshore fleet. Under current quota management arrangements, quotas are shared out, to the following three groups:

2.5.1 Individual Fish Producers Organisations (POs)

POs manage quota for the vessels in their group. The POs are collectively described sometimes as "the Sector". If the vessel is fishing within a PO, the fishing vessel licence will list the stocks which the vessel is prohibited from retaining on board or landing. Individual vessels are allocated quota by their PO for the stocks they are allowed to catch. Allocation is usually based on the PO member vessels' Fixed Quota Allocation ( FQA) units. POs seek to allocate their total fish quota according to the needs of their member vessels and take action to ensure that quotas are not overfished.

2.5.2 10 Metre and Under Non-Producer Organisation Group,

This comprises those vessels of 10 metres and under overall length, which are not fishing against quota allocations managed by POs but are managed centrally within a "pool" by quota managers in Marine Scotland in consultation with relevant industry interests. If the vessel is fishing against "pool" allocations for the 10 m and Under Non- PO group, the uptake for those stocks (primarily Nephrops, NS cod and mackerel in Scotland) are subject to either weekly (in the case of mackerel) monthly or, in the case of nephrops, quarterly catch limits. These will be shown in the licence, along with those stocks which all 10 metre and under vessels (not in a PO), are prohibited from retaining on board or landing.

2.5.3 The "Non-Sector"

This group comprising all vessels Over 10 m overall length, which are not fishing against quota allocations managed by POs but are managed centrally within a "pool" by quota managers in Marine Scotland in consultation with relevant industry interests. The Monthly Catch Limits will be shown on the licence, along with all stocks which all non-sector vessels are prohibited from landing. Vessels in these groups fish against catch limits set by the Government. These limits may be monthly or three monthly and are enforced in fishing licences.

2.5.4 FQAs and Marine Scotland

Quota (tonnes of fish) can be transferred or swapped between POs during the course of the quota year (1 Jan to 31 Dec). Thus if one PO is under fishing a stock against its quota it can swap with another PO which might be overfishing that stock. In addition vessel owners are allowed to separate FQA units from licences when undertaking vessel licensing transactions. Effectively, they can sell their quota entitlement to other licence holders. Against that background MS plays the following roles in managing quota and FQAs within Scotland:

  • Maintains an overview of quota uptake by Scottish POs and has a regular dialogue with Scottish POs during the quota year;
  • Directly manages the "pool" quotas allocated to the Scottish non-sector and 10 metre and under groups;
  • Approves in-year quota swaps between POs and undertakes quota swaps on behalf of the Scottish non-sector and 10 metre and under groups;
  • Processes international quota swaps;
  • Facilitates the transfer of fixed quota allocation ( FQA) units between licences (since 30 June 2014, through the on-line FQA Register – a publicly-accessible register of FQA holdings in the UK first launched in December 2013);
  • Where necessary, closes specific fisheries to POs and the non-sector and 10 metre and under groups when their quota allocations are exhausted in order to ensure no overfishing at both a PO and, ultimately, UK level.

2.6 Managing Effort

Whilst technical measures and rebuilding plans for stocks, such as cod, are decided at the EU level, member states can decide how their fishing vessels are regulated with, as long as the EU legislation is not violated. As part of the EU Cod Recovery Plan, the Scottish Government's scheme for managing fishing effort ('days at sea') is called the Conservation Credits Scheme (CCS). The purpose of the scheme is ensure stocks of valuable whitefish in Scottish waters, particularly cod, are able to recover to sustainable levels. The CCS allocates limited fishing time to vessels that use particular types of fishing gear (principally, trawls for whitefish and Nephrops) and rewards them with additional time in return for the adoption of conservation minded fishing practices.

Under the effort management scheme, if a vessel is 10 metres or greater, is eligible for an allocation of days to be spent in the Cod Recovery Zone (CRZ), has an appropriate fishing vessel licence etc and wishes to be in the CRZ, carrying regulated gear, an application must be made for an allocation of days at sea. Regulated fishing gears are: demersal trawls (except beam trawls) with mesh size of 70 to 99 mm; demersal trawls (except beam trawls) with mesh size of 16 to 32 mm; beam trawls; trammel nets; and long-lines.

The table below which is the basic allocation of days for 2013-14, provides some indication of the level of detail embedded in the CCS [11] .

Table 2.6. Basic Allocation of Days for 2013-14

Gear category Description Number of days
TR1 Whitefish demersal trawls – equal to or greater than 100 mm 90
TR1 Supplementary Under 5 per cent cod catch allocation* 50
TR2 Nephrops demersal trawls – equal to or larger than 70 mm and less than 100 mm North Sea – 130; West of Scotland – 110; Irish Sea – 75
TR3 Demersal trawls, Seines of mesh size equal to or larger than 16mm and less than 32mm 228
BT1 Beam trawls of mesh size of 120mm or greater 152
BT2 Beam trawls of mesh size equal to or larger than 80mm and less than 120mm 152
GN1 Gill nets and entangling nets, excluding trammel nets 140
GT1 Trammel nets 140
LL1 Longlines 172

Vessels measuring less than 10 metres and those using only unregulated fishing gear, are exempt from the effort management scheme and therefore, need not apply for days at sea. Unregulated fishing gear types include pots and creels, which are used mainly to target prawns, crabs and lobster.

Vessels may transfer days to other vessels, but there are detailed restrictions. There are also restrictions that apply in transferring days to and from Scotland. Transfers must, in the first instance be sought within Scotland. Thereafter, transfers of days at sea that involve vessels administered by another UK Fisheries Administration (FA) will be subject to exceptional controls. A vessel administered by Marine Scotland that wishes to apply to transfer days at sea to a vessel administered by another UK FA must make that application to Marine Scotland. A vessel seeking to transfer in days from a vessel administered by another UK FA must first seek confirmation from Marine Scotland that the proposed transfer conforms to the Conservation Credits Scheme rules and any exceptional controls imposed on inter‑FA transfers.

The result of effort management is that vessels are now more constrained in where they can choose to fish and the gear they can use. In effect the licence category dictates the stock they can fish (i.e. which species they can fish in specific locations). Depending on the stock they fish, the FQA determines the amount they can land and their "days at sea" allocation determines how many days they can use particular gear in specific areas. An individual vessel's track record was an important determinant of its FQA and days at sea allocation.

2.7 Recording Scottish Landings:

There are two recording systems, the logbook system for vessels over 12 m and the weekly reports submitted by under 10 m vessels landing lobster, crabs and Nephrops.

2.7.1 Logbooks and the Electronic Recoding System ( ERS)

Council Regulation 1224/2009 requires fishing vessels to record and report landed catch data electronically. This began in January 2010 for vessels of 24 metres and greater length and the rest of the fleet is following until every vessel of more than 12 m is covered. All EU registered vessels are obligated to have electronic logbooks. Scottish vessels operating in distant waters are expected to comply with this requirement and arrangements have to be made to have an electronic logbook system fitted as soon as practicable. Marine Scotland is considering extending the replacement of paper logbooks with electronic reporting to the 10-12 metre sector. The logbooks also provide details of the buyer of the catch (see registration of buyers below)

2.7.2 Under 10 m vessels landing shellfish

With respect to Nephrops, it is a condition in the 10 m & Under licence which requires vessel owners to complete the FISH1 form recording all landings of Nephrops over 12 kg. These returns are required to be submitted on a weekly basis to the Fishery Office at which the vessel is administered.

It is also a condition in the 10 m & under licence requiring owners of vessels with a shellfish entitlement to complete FISH1 form all landings of lobsters and crabs and submit on a weekly basis to the Fishery Office at which the vessel is administered. Licensed vessel owners who do not hold the Shellfish Entitlement are allowed to land up to 5 lobsters and 25 crabs per day.

The FISH! forms identify the buyer of the landing and enables cross checking between landings and sales as provided through the Register of Buyers and Sellers (see below)

2.8 Registration of Buyers and sellers

In addition to vessel operators catch recording registered buyers and sellers, who are responsible for the first marketing of fishery products and have an annual financial turnover in first sales of fishery products of €200,000 or more, are required to record and report sales data electronically. Marine Scotland has a system to facilitate the delivery of electronic sales notes.

2.9 Recording Effort: The Vessel Monitoring System ( VMS),

VMS is a form of satellite tracking using transmitters on board fishing vessels and is a legal requirement for all vessels which exceed 15 m overall length. This is now being rolled out to 12-15 m fleet. VMS consists of a GPS receiver which plots the position of the vessel and a communications device which reports the position at a minimum of every two hours. VMS automatically sends; the vessel identification, geographical position, date/time of fixing of position, course and speed.

Each member state monitors the VMS data of their flag fishing vessels wherever they may be and fishing vessels within their waters. Marine Scotland is responsible for all Scottish based vessels anywhere in the world and for non- UK vessels operating in waters within Scottish jurisdiction.

Vessel masters must ensure VMS is working and are only allowed to power down when in port. Vessel on guard ship or non-fishing duties must continue to report as normal. However, they can request dispensation to turn off VMS.

By itself, VMS does not provide any detail of catch, however through the vessel identification MS is able to link with the vessels landing declarations.


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