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Statutory guidance: Manage your fishing effort: Cod in ICES area VIId

Marine Management Organisation

March 9
11:44 2020

Technical gear specifications for TR2 vessels fishing for nephrops in the Irish Sea and the North Sea

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The EU Commission has recognised that the Cod Recovery Scheme has become an obstacle to the implementation of the landing obligation. The fishing effort regime has, therefore been discontinued. The Irish Sea, West of Scotland and North Sea no longer require Cod Recovery Zone authorisations. If you are eligible to fish for cod in International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) area VIId you should have received a Fishing Authorisation which will permit you to be active in VIId.

If you have a historical track record of fishing in the area but have not received a Fishing Authorisation please contact the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) Fisheries Management Team on the contact details below.

The following rules apply to the carriage and use of regulated gears in the ICES area VIId for the 2020-21 management year (which runs from 1st February 2020 to 31st January 2021). The rules no longer apply in the ICES areas in the North Sea (ICES Area IIa (EU) & IV), West of Scotland (ICES Area Vb (EU) & VIa), and the Irish Sea (ICES Area VIIa) but continue to apply in VIId.

Compliance with the rules is a requirement of your fishing vessel licence, and there are other conditions on your over ten metre licence which are associated with these rules.

Failure to comply with these rules or any condition of your fishing vessel licence is likely to be investigated and may result in action being taken in line with the Marine Management Organisations (MMO) Compliance and Enforcement Strategy, including (where appropriate) prosecution.

These rules may be regularly updated or amended and it is recommended that you check these rules on a regular basis. In addition you should be familiar with the relevant EU and UK national legislation governing the carriage and use of regulated gears area VIId including those given below: You can check by using the European Commission fishing quota pages

European regulations coming out in January of each year fix the annual fishing opportunities and total allowable catches for certain fish stocks and groups of fish stocks, applicable in Union waters and, for Union fishing vessels, in certain non-Union waters.

Other relevant regulations are:

  • Regulation (EU) 2018/973 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 July 2018 establishing a multiannual plan for demersal stocks in the North Sea and the fisheries exploiting these stocks, specifying details of the implementation of the landing obligation in the North Sea and repealing Council Regulations (EC) No 676/2007 (EC) No 1342/2008

  • COUNCIL REGULATION (EC) No 850/98 of 30 March 1998 for the conservation of fishery resources through technical measures for the protection of juveniles of marine organisms.

1. Eligibility to fish with regulated gears ICES area VIId

1.1 A vessel will be eligible to carry and use regulated gears in area VIId where either:

  • the vessel has a record of fishing activity with regulated gear in the years 2006 or 2007; or
  • eligibility has been obtained via the transfer of a single licence (or the aggregation of two or more licences) where the originating vessel(s) has such a record of fishing.

1.2 Vessels with eligibility may use any of the following gears:

(a) bottom trawls and seines (OTB, OTT, PTB, SDN, SSC, SPR) of mesh:

(i) equal to or larger than 100 mm; (TR1)

(ii) equal to or larger than 70 mm and less than 100 mm; (TR2)

(iii) equal to or larger than 16 mm and less than 32 mm; (TR3)

(b) beam trawls (TBB) of mesh:

(i) equal to or larger than 120 mm; (BT1)

(ii) equal to or larger than 80 mm and less than 120 mm; (BT2)

(c) gill nets, entangling nets (GN); (GN1)

(d) trammel nets (GT); (GT1)

(e) longlines (LL). (LL1)

2. Carrying regulated gears

Vessels may only transit through area VIId other than in accordance with these rules if they comply with the requirements set out in articles 29 (Exemptions) and 47(Fishing Gear) of Council Regulation (EC) 1224/2009.

3. TR2 vessels fishing for nephrops in the Irish Sea

To reduce discards it is recommended that a vessel which is to undertake fishing activity in the Irish Sea (ICES Area VIIa) targeting nephrops (i.e. catching 300kg or more of nephrops in any one fishing trip) use one of the approved highly selective gear types The highly selective gears are:

  1. 200mm square mesh panel developed for the nephrop fishery in North West England in 2012 and 2013
  2. 200mm square mesh panel (only available for vessels 12 metres or under in length)
  3. 300mm square mesh panel
  4. Seltra 300 trawl
  5. Seltra 270 trawl 6, Faithlie panel
  6. Flip-Flap trawl
  7. Net Grid or variants
  8. Inclined separator panel
  9. Swedish Grid.

For further details please refer to this guide.

4. Transferring eligibility to fish with regulated gear

4.1 Where a vessel owner wishes to transfer eligibility to the licence before a change of ownership of either vessel, licence, or both, they must notify the local MMO coastal office and provide written evidence confirming that this has been agreed by both parties.

4.2 In cases where a vessel with eligibility is sold without its licence and MMO has not been notified of any transfer of eligibility or documentary evidence has not been provided, it will be assumed that eligibility remains with the purchased vessel.

4.3 Where eligibility is obtained via the transfer and combination of two or more licences, each licence must hold eligibility to carry or use regulated gears within area VIId. Where eligibility is acquired through combining multiple licences, each of the licences contributing engine power must carry eligibility to fish within area VIId with regulated gear.

4.4 Where an eligible licence is split, each part of the licence carries the same eligibility as the original licence (unless the part of the licence does not carry engine power).

5. Changing administration

5.1 Changes in administration will only be considered in cases where there is a genuine operational transfer.

5.2 All requests for changes into English administration by vessels with eligibility to fish for cod in area VIId will take into consideration the current eligibility of the vessel and its contribution to the 2004 to 2006 effort baseline. Decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis. Appeals to such decisions can

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