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Seafish Project to Improve Sustainability of UK Fisheries

Crustaceans Sustainability Economics +4 more

UK - A new project led by Seafish is to work with the Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities (IFCA) around the UK to map all the fisheries around the UK coast, writes Lucy Towers, TheFishSite Editor.

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The project, Project Inshore, will benchmark each fishery against the MSC standard and identify where there are issues with stocks, fishing pressure, lack of data and environmental impact.

These assessments can then be used by the IFCAs to develop bespoke management plans that will lead to improved sustainability and possible MSC accreditation.

One clear area the project aims to help is the UK's crab industry. At present, UK crab fisheries have no set quotas or limit to the amount of pots that can be set. The project will therefore help to control the fishery and allow data to be compiled which will help with any future decisions that need to be made to create a sustainable fishery.

Sainsbury's, the largest UK retailer of Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified sustainable fish in the UK, is supporting the project financially.

Ally Dingwall, Aquaculture and Fisheries Manager, Sainsbury's says: "Locally caught British fish from inshore boats are the backbone of Sainsbury's fish counters, so it's important that these fisheries are well managed to ensure sustainable supplies for the future. By 2020 all of the fish we sell will be independently certified as sustainable and Project Inshore is an effective way of providing English inshore fisheries with both long term management plans and the opportunity to move forward into MSC assessment."

"Sustainable fisheries are essential if the world is to retain its primary renewable source of protein and protecting the integrity of marine ecosystems remains one of the major challenges. With this project we can join forces and not only understand the state of the fisheries but ensure stocks are being managed effectively."

The project began on the 1 June and will be operated over the next three years.