Progress on a Sustainable Future for Englands Small-Scale Fisheries

30 January 2013, at 12:00am

UK - The Seafish-led project to secure the future of Englands small-scale fisheries is making significant progress through its three-year plan.

Project Inshore is a three-year programme that will provide sustainability reports for each of the inshore fisheries and conservation authorities (IFCAs), mapping all English inshore fisheries to showcase best practice. Set to be completed in 2015, it covers over 2,000 small fishing boats along the coast of England which make up nearly three quarters of Englands fishing fleet. The project is part funded by the European Fisheries Fund and was awarded a grant of over 320,000.

Stage one reports are now available for download and work is underway on the stage two pre-assessment phase.

Stage one mapped the inshore fisheries for the first time, profiling all of them with a biological analysis of 57 different species, highlighting their commercial importance. These first significant milestones reached by the project detail key commercial fisheries, the fishing gear types they use and species fished to develop a list of fisheries that will progress to stage two, the pre-assessment phase.

Expected to report in April 2013, stage two will be a gap analysis (based around the Marine Stewardship Council's (MSC) pre-assessment process) to determine what is working well in the English inshore sector, what needs improvement and identify examples of best practice as well as giving an early idea of how each fishery will measure up against the MSC standard for sustainable fishing. This will highlight crucial areas for development and provide a basis for IFCAs and key industry stakeholders to work together and implement positive change.

Matt Watson, MSCs English Fisheries Outreach Officer, said "Work is moving forward quickly with a huge amount of information collated in the stage one reports, used as the basis to inform the stage two gap analysis work. The stage one reports are now publicly available on the Project Inshore pages of the Seafish website and I urge everyone with an interest to have a look at these reports."

Richard Caslake of Seafish said "We are delighted to see Project Inshore progressing on target and reaching significant milestones. This is an important initiative for the industry and we would urge all those with an interest to have a look at the reports and continue to give their valuable feedback."