Attendees of a two-day workshop for French and British scallop fishers called for more efforts to gather scientific data to track their respective fisheries.

The workshop, held 14 to 16 April in Devon, United Kingdom, included more than 60 participants, ranging from fishermen to scientists to government representatives to NGO activists. The meeting was designed to build on the agreements that ended the 2012 disputes between scallop fishermen in France and the U.K., dubbed the “scallop wars” at the time.

The workshop led to a number of new agreements, but most notable was an almost unilateral call for more scientific work to monitor and gauge the health of the fisheries.

“We have heard from scientists in the UK and in France – they are frustrated due to lack of resources from Government departments,” said Jim Portus, chief executive of the South Western Fish Producer Organization. “We in the industry have said ‘we’ve got the platforms, come out on our boats and gather the data — teach us to become gatherers of data.’ Fishermen are willing to do that, but they need to be guided which takes time and resources … but it can happen, and I think it should happen, and I hope it does happen.”

In addition to calls for more scientific study, the workshop attendees agreed on the need for a dedicated working group, focused on the English Channel scallop fishery. The attendees also called for a full capacity assessment of scallop boats operating in the channel.

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