Two year fishing gear trial gets underway

24th February 2017

the landing obligation of the new common fisheries policy

The landing obligation, a key component of the new Common Fisheries Policy and also referred to widely as the “discards ban” began to be implemented at the start of 2015. A gradual phasing in of the new rules started with pelagic species such as herring and mackerel on the 1st January 2015 and from 1st January 2016 the same rules have started to be applied to certain demersal fish species. It is expected that the new rules will be applied to a few species at a time rather than apply the landing obligation as a whole in one go.

By 2019

By 2019 fishermen will be obliged to land 100% of their catch of quota species irrespective of size. Undersized individuals of a given species that were not historically landed will be, however this component of a catch will not be permitted to enter the human food chain and therefore will be less financially beneficial to the fisherman. Aside from the need to have facilities to process this “unmarketable” product the fisherman is faced with a situation of less room on board their vessel for storing “marketable” catch. Fuel consumption costs will also be more difficult to offset due to potential reductions in landed catch that can be sold.

Project gets under way in Northern Ireland

A collaborative, 2 year project is underway in Northern Ireland with a programme of work involving the design, trialling and implementation of fishing gear with increased selectivity. The project will be focusing on the commercial fishing fleets that operate out of the three main harbours in Northern Ireland, Kilkeel, Ardglass and Portavogie. It is recognised that the local fishermen are a key player in any future gear development and their knowledge and input to the gear development process is essential in ensuring that the local fishing industry is best placed to meet the requirements of the landing obligation whilst not impacting negatively on fishermen’s incomes.

The project will be managed by Ben Collier

The project will be managed by Ben Collier and overseen by a management structure that comprises of members from both of the Northern Ireland fish producer organisations as well as representation from local government and other related research and management organisations. Information has been distributed around the Kilkeel, Ardglass and Portavogie harbours and engagement with fishermen is ongoing. It is anticipated that over the coming month a series of workshops will be held at each harbour. Fishermen are encouraged to attend these events as this will be their opportunity to input their own thoughts and ideas on gear development into the design process. Details of the workshops will be published closer to the date and will be advertised around the harbours, on the project Facebook page (Northern Ireland Gear Trialling Project 2017-2019) and through other local media outlets.

Alternatively, you can contact Ben directly at

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