Aquaculture for all

New Scheme May Speed up Fisheries Inspections

Sustainability Politics +2 more

UK - Commercial fishermen are being encouraged to volunteer for a new Net Tagging Scheme which may reduce the length of inspections.

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The scheme, which has been launched by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) in consultation with the National Federation of Fishermens Organisations (NFFO), also means fishing vessels could avoid having their towed nets measured for up to six months.

As part of its work in ensuring compliance with fisheries legislation, the MMO contracts the Royal Navy to carry out inspections of fishing vessels while at sea, with nets routinely examined as part of this. Similar inspections are conducted in ports by MMO marine officers. The new scheme, which is open to any UK-registered vessel fishing in English waters or landing into English ports, will provide assurances for marine enforcement officers, and vessel owners, that the nets are the correct mesh size range declared in the logbook.

Nets tagged as part of the scheme will not normally be measured on inspection, either at sea or in port, provided they remain in date. However, an inspection may still be carried out in certain circumstances, for example if a problem is encountered elsewhere or if part of the net appears to have been changed. Verification inspections may also be carried out.

To take part, a master must arrange with the MMO to allow the net to be measured and tagged in accordance with the programme rules. More information on the scheme and application forms are available from the MMO website or one of its coastal offices.

Liz Humphreys, Director of Operations and Compliance for the Marine Management Organisation, said: "I'm pleased that through this scheme we are able to reduce some of the time taken up at sea by inspections, benefiting the majority of fishermen who fish responsibly.

"Weve designed the scheme with feedback from industry and believe it is straight-forward and convenient. Id encourage people to get in touch with us and find out more about signing up."

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