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Nephrops Fishery Withdraws From MSC Programme

SCOTLAND - Loch Torridon langoustine (Nephrops) fishery has withdrawn from the MSC programme. At the Torridon Nephrops Management Groups (TNMG) request, independent certifier, Intertek Moody Marine, has withdrawn the fisherys MSC certification. The withdrawal follows the suspension of TNMGs MSC certificate in January this year.

The suspension came after fishing pressure in the area increased through additional creel-fishing boats being attracted to the fishery. Many of the extra boats had not signed-up to the voluntary Management Plan Code of Conduct for the fishery.

The implications of this were identified when the fishery was being considered for recertification in 2009. As a condition of recertification, TNMG was required to develop – with relevant management bodies – means of achieving appropriate limits on fishing pressure; either through a reduction in the fishing effort or through control of the landings within the area.

TNMG was unable – either by themselves or with the relevant management bodies – to establish management control over the fishery (and thus prevent a further fall in local langoustine abundance) or to demonstrate that the stock within the area was sustainable.

The certificate was therefore suspended January 2011. For the suspension to be lifted, the TNMG, had to meet the conditions by the next surveillance audit on the fourth of July. In the event, the TNMG decided not to pursue lifting of the suspension and instead decided to withdraw the fishery from the MSC programme.

Claire Pescod, UK Fisheries Outreach Manager for the MSC says: “It is sad to see a long-standing Scottish fishery leave the MSC programme and I hope that the TNMG will continue their work to establish effective effort control in the area."

"The recertification and annual surveillance elements of the MSC programme exist to identify important changes in fisheries and in this instance identified a risk to the stock due to increased fishing pressure and management control issues."

"The sustainability of the fishery is in the interest of all of the fishermen catching langoustine on Loch Torridon – both TNMG members and the non-member boats – and it is in their joint interest to ensure that there are langoustines available for this and future generations. I hope that – at some point in the future – we will be able to welcome Loch Torridon’s langoustine fishermen back into the MSC programme.”

the Fish Site Editor

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