Ireland incentivizes shrimp fishermen to tackle discards

Published on
August 3, 2017

Michael Creed, Ireland’s minister for agriculture, food and the marine, has announced that a scheme will be launched to promote the use of environmentally friendly fishing gear in the country’s nephrops fishery.

The new plan has been developed between the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) and the main fisheries organizations and is designed to help fishermen transition to fishing gears that help the phasing out of discards at sea.

A first phase of the scheme will operate for the period September to November 2017 and will require operators to exclusively use fishing gear that has been approved by the Irish Sea Fisheries Board, Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), for being more effective in releasing small nephrops and small and/or quota limited whitefish such as cod, whiting, haddock and black sole.   

Vessels that come within the scheme will have access to an additional 20 percent of nephrops quota. 

Creed said the strategy would help fishermen to catch marketable fish and avoid small and unwanted catches. 

“Our fishing fleet is going through a period of massive change as we phase out the unacceptable practice of discarding fish at sea. The intention of the scheme is to promote the use of fishing gears that have demonstrated that they allow the escape of juvenile fish,” said the minister.  

The new gears developed by BIM and tested with fishing vessels have been found to be significantly more effective at letting small fish escape and in certain situations avoiding unwanted catches where quotas are low or the stock needs to be avoided for conservation reasons, he added.

The closing date for receipt of applications for the scheme is 21 August 2017.

Contributing Editor reporting from London, UK

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