The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D., has announced the launch of a scheme to promote the use of environmentally friendly fishing gear in the Irish prawn fishery.
The scheme has been developed between the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the main fisheries organisations and is designed to help fishermen transition to fishing gears which help the phasing out of discards at sea.
The first phase of the scheme will operate for the period September to November 2017 and will require operators to use exclusively fishing gear which has been approved by BIM as more effective in releasing small prawns and small and/or quota limited whitefish such as cod, whiting, haddock and black sole. The vessels which come within the scheme will have access to an additional 20% of prawn quota.
Minister Creed commented: “This scheme will help fishermen to catch marketable fish and avoid small and unwanted catches. Our fishing fleet is going through a period of massive change as we phase out the unacceptable practice of discarding fish at sea. The intention of the scheme is to promote the use of fishing gears that have demonstrated that they allow the escape of juvenile fish. The new gears have been developed by BIM and have been tested by BIM with fishing vessels. These gears have been found to be significantly more effective at letting small fish escape and in certain situations avoiding unwanted catches where quotas are low or the stock needs to be avoided for conservation reasons.”
Minister Creed added “I am pleased at this progressive initiative from our fishing industry who are engaging fully to find better ways to fish that will support the conservation of fish stocks and the livelihoods of fishing communities around our coast.”
Closing date for receipt of applications for the scheme is Monday 21st August 2017.
Further information on the scheme and the application process is available at: http://www.agriculture.gov.ie/seafood/seafoodpolicy/forms/nephropsschemefortheuseofselectivefishinggears/