French, UK fishermen collaborate for sustainable Channel scallop fishery
In a first for the European fishing community, earlier this year GAP2 hosted a neutrally facilitated workshop for French and U.K. Channel scallop fishermen, designed to help build a sustainable future for the valuable fishery.
At the event, fishers from both sides of the Channel, scientists, policy makers and environmental NGOs discussed how to develop the first steps towards a regional, multi-annual plan for the Channel scallop fishery.
“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,” said Jim Portus, South Western Fish Producer Organization CEO.
The outcomes of the workshop – including actions for fishers and scientists – have since been developed into a report, published 17 September by the GAP2 project, in partnership with the North Western Waters Advisory Council (NWWAC) and the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF).
The document combines the views and outcomes of participants over the short-term — 1-2 years — and into the long-term — 5 years — to help fishermen, scientists and government begin a journey towards a sustainable and profitable future for this fishery.
Key points from the report include:
• Fishers would welcome the opportunity to support scientific studies directed towards a full scallop stock assessment. Currently stock and capacity data is poor and so greater resources should be directed towards research conducted in partnership between fishers, scientists and government.
• Measures should be developed through a bottom-up, collaborative process and driven by industry. Whilst this is already broadly the case in France, in the U.K. greater emphasis should be placed on fishers’ potential contribution to management planning and decisions.
• A capacity assessment of scallop boats operating in the Channel should be undertaken. This would help broaden understanding of existing capacity and any latent capacity that exists within the system.
• Particular attention should be paid to ICES area VIId, including possible harmonization of technical measures. This will require further discussion to reach consensus.