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The UK Government is introducing what it calls a “world class system of fisheries management”, drawing on both scientific evidence and know-how from the fishing community to improve sustainability of fish stocks in English and Welsh waters.
To achieve this, the UK has unveiled a series of new Fisheries Management Plans, which it describes as “blueprints for how best to manage fish stocks”.
Total of 43 plans due to be published
The first six of these FMPs were published this week, including specific plans covering crab and lobster, whelk, king scallops, bass, channel non-quota demersal stocks and southern North Sea and Eastern channel mixed flat fish. Each FMP proposes a series of short, medium and long-term actions to ensure the stocks are managed sustainably.
In a press statement announcing the new FMPs, government sources said the plans had been developed in consultation with both the fishing industry and recreational anglers over the past 18 months. The plans are the first of a total of 43 FMPs originally proposed in the UK’s Joint Fisheries Statement.
The aim is to deliver on commitments from the Fisheries Act 2020, through a variety of actions to protect stocks, including seasonal closures and scientific studies. The plans also incorporate longer-term strategies based on scientific data.
Smaller fishing vessels to benefit from increased quotas
In addition to the FMPs, the UK government has also announced a series of initiatives, including a consultation on the use of remote electronic monitoring (REM) in English waters, a new approach to managing fishing discards in England, and the award of a further £45.6 million from the UK Seafood Fund to modernise infrastructure acracross the UK seafood sector and ensure access to key research for fisheries management, supporting around 1,500 jobs.
The UK also announced moves to support smaller fishing vessels , removing a cap on the amount of quota available to vessels under 10 metres and thus, “opening up more potential income for smaller businesses”.
“These reforms will play a crucial role in achieving the goals in our Environmental Improvement Plan and the UK Government’s Food Strategy, helping to improve food security as well as levelling up some of our much-loved coastal towns and communities,” argued the government statement announcing the measures.
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