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Shellfish Industry Unites Against WFD

UK - A recent workshop organised by Seafish and the Shellfish Association of Great Britain (SAGB) discussed how the shellfish industry can work together to mitigate the potential negative effects of the EC Water Framework Directive (WFD) on both the wild harvest and cultivated shellfisheries.

A group has now been formed, led by Dr Tom Pickerell of the SAGB under the Shellfish Industry Development Strategy (SIDS). This brings together fishermen, their associations, policy makers and regulators to look at the potential impacts of the WFD on the shellfish industry in the UK, and consider the best way to proactively respond to them.


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"SAGB will liaise with the UK river basin management panels to ensure an effective industry presence"
Dr Tom Pickerell of the SAGB under the Shellfish Industry Development Strategy

“The overall objective of the WFD to create ‘good ecological status’ for all inland and coastal waters is of course very welcome, but the WFD raises a number of issues which are of specific concern to the shellfish sector, and this forum was an excellent opportunity for us to proactively address these.” said Tom Pickerell.

The number one concern is that the WFD will repeal the current Shellfish Waste Directive in 2013, and will not replace the bacteriological standard that has been vital for improving the quality of these waters for shellfishermen and shellfish farmers.

However, there are also issues surrounding the water quality standards for coastal waters which could leave shellfish beds vulnerable to pollution, new management measures for shellfisheries which could impact adversely on the sector, and the management of fisheries overall could become patchy owing to inconsistencies in the wording of some of the domestic legislation.

“This was a positive meeting and some key actions have come out of this first workshop: namely that the group will begin the process of developing new domestic legislation to replace the Shellfish Waters Directive, and that SAGB will liaise with the UK river basin management panels to ensure an effective industry presence.

“More specifically, it was felt there were no specialist shellfish working groups or task teams working with UKTAG, the United Kingdom Technical Advisory Group, who are supporting the implementation of the WFD in the UK. To rectify this, SAGB would contact UKTAG to offer the services of this expert group,” said Tom.

The group will meet again in October.

Ellen Hardy

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