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The Landing Obligation for all Scottish Waters 2019

Introduction

 

1st January 2019 sees the full legislation come into effect. You will no longer be able to discard any species of fish that is quota regulated. These are the species for which your licence places catch limits (this includes monthly quotas for non-sector vessels).

 

The landing obligation applies to all sizes of fish managed by quota limits – you must land all catches of quota stocks below the Minimum Conservation Size (MCRS).

 

Are there any exemptions?

 

There are circumstances that apply to all fisheries allowing you to return fish and these are: -

 

  • Fish species not subject quota limits (e.g. Red Mullet and Squid)

  • Protected Species (these must be returned carefully and unharmed),

  • Fish already damaged by predation, birds and other animals,

  • Diseased or heavily (parasitized) parasitic fish

  • Offal from the catch being processed e.g. fish intestines and Nephrops heads.

 

Fisheries with individual exemptions

 

If you use pots, traps and creels, then you will be able to return all catches of quota fish to the sea under a high survival exemption.  However, should you use any other type of fishing gear then you must comply with the Landing Obligation.

 

Undersized catches – storing on vessel

 

Vessels 12 metres length (LOA) or longer:

 

Undersize fish must be stored separately from those above the minimum allowed size e.g. in a separate, marked container or different box clearly marked.

Different species of undersize fish may be stored together. For example, a bycatch of cod and haddock below MCRS could be stored together in the same box on the vessel.

 

Vessels under 12 metres LOA:

 

Vessels between 10 and 12m are required to keep a logbook and submit each landing. The new logbook available from Marine Scotland can accommodate this requirement. Please contact your local office if you do not have one. 

 

For vessels below 10m LOA

 

You do not have to store undersize fish separately. However, if you have a logbook, you must sort, estimate their weight and record them.

 

Undersize catches – landing

 

You are responsible for handling the undersize fish until they are either landed for sale (ensuring your landing declaration is captured correctly and accurately) or sold to another Registered Buyer or Seller.

 

Any fish below MCRS which are landed must not be sold for direct human consumption. However, they can be sold for other uses including: bait, fishmeal and cosmetics.

 

 

 

 

North Sea

 

High Survival and De Minimis Exemptions

 

Recording Catches

 

If you are discarding catches of fish under a high survival or de minimis exemption, then you MUST:-

 

  • Record all discarded quantities by fish species under the Landing Obligation exemptions and which exemption is being utilised.

  • An exemption can be withdrawn/closed if the levels of discard exceed the amounts agreed regionally.

     

Survivability exemptions

 

  • For catches of Norway lobster made with pots in ICES divisions 2a, 3a and ICES subarea 4.

     

  • For catches of fish made with pots in ICES divisions 2a, 3a and ICES subarea 4.

     

  • For catches of Norway lobster made with demersal trawls using a cod end larger than 80mm in ICES divisions 2a, 3a and ICES subarea 4.

     

  • For catches of skates and rays made by fishing gears. The skates and rays must be released below the sea surface immediately.

     

    Additional high survival options in the North Sea are:

     

  • for catches of common sole below minimum conservation reference size (MCRS) made by OTB within cod ends of 80-99mm trawls in ICES division 4c.

 

  • for catches of Norway lobster made in ICES subarea 4 and divisions 2a and 3a with certain gears on the condition that a net grid selectivity device was used. To qualify for this exemption you must use a cod-end larger than 80 mm or at least 70 mm and equipped with specific selectivity devices.

     

  • for the bycatch of all species subject to catch limits in the fishery carried out with pots and fyke nets.

 

  • for plaice in the fishery carried out with gillnets and trammel nets in ICES division 3a and ICES subarea 4.

 

  • for plaice in the fishery carried out with Danish seines in ICES division 3a and ICES subarea 4.

 

  • for plaice caught with bottom trawls with a mesh size of at least 120 mm (OTB, PTB) in ICES division 3a and ICES subarea 4 in winter months. (from 1 November to 30 April

     

  • For skates and rays caught with all fishing gears in ICES divisions 2a and 3a, and ICES subarea 4.

 

The de minimis exemptions with most relevance to the Scottish fleet are:

 

  • in the fisheries for ling by vessels using bottom trawls (OTB, OTT, PTB) with a mesh size equal to or greater than 120 mm in Union waters of ICES subarea 4, a quantity of ling below minimum conservation reference size, which shall not exceed 3% of the total annual catches of that specie;

 

Additional de minimis exemptions in the North Sea are:

 

  • for common sole caught with trammel nets and gillnets (GN, GNS, GND, GNC, GTN, GTR, GEN, GNF) in ICES divisions 2a and 3a, ICES subarea 4.

     

  • for common sole caught with beam trawls with a mesh size of 80 - 119mm (TBB) equipped with a Flemish panel in ICES subarea 4.

     

  • for catches of common sole, haddock, whiting, cod, saithe, plaice, herring, Norway pout, greater silver smelt and blue whiting made with bottom trawls with a mesh size equal to or larger than 70mm (OTB, OTN) equipped with a species-selective grid with a bar spacing of maximum 70mm in ICES division 3a.

     

  • for catches of common sole, haddock, whiting, cod, saithe, plaice, herring, Norway pout, greater silver smelt and blue whiting made with bottom trawls with a mesh size equal to or larger than 70mm (OTB, OTN) equipped with a species-selective grid with a bar spacing of maximum 35mm in ICES division 3a.

     

  • for catches of cod and whiting below MCRS caught by bottom trawls and seines with a mesh size between 70 - 99mm (OTB, OTT, SDN, SSC) in ICES area 4c.

 

  • for catches of cod and whiting below MCRS caught by bottom trawls and seines with a mesh size between 70 - 99mm (OTB, OTT, SDN, SSC) in ICES area 4a and 4b.

     

  • for whiting below MCRS caught by bottom trawls (OTB, OTT, TBN) with a mesh size of 90 – 119mm equipped with a Seltra panel or bottom trawls (OTB, OTT, TBN) with a mesh size equal to or larger than 120mm caught with bottom trawls in ICES division 3a.

     

  • for plaice below MCRS caught by bottom trawls with a mesh size of 80 – 99mm equipped with a SepNep in ICES area 4.

  • for all species caught within by catch limits caught by vessels using beam trawls in ICES division 4b and 4c.

     

  • for ling below MCRS caught by vessels using bottom trawls (OTB, OTT, PTB) with a mesh size between 100 – 119mm in ICES subarea 4.

     

  • for ling below MCRS caught by vessels using bottom trawls (OTB, OTT, PTB) with a mesh size equal to or greater than 120mm in ICES subarea 4.

     

  • for whiting below MCRS caught by vessels below MCRS caught by vessels using beam trawls with a mesh size of 80 – 119mm in ICES subarea 4.

     

  • for horse mackerel caught by vessels using bottom trawls (OTB, OTT, PTB, TBB) with a mesh size between 80mm-99mm.

     

  • for mackerel caught by vessels using bottom trawls (OTB, OTT, PTB, TBB) with a mesh size between 80mm-99mm

     

Definitions of Gear

 

For the purpose of the Regulation, the following definitions shall apply:

 

(1) ‘Seltra panel’ means a selectivity device which: – consists of a top panel of at least 270mm mesh size (diamond mesh) placed in a four-panel section and mounted with a joining ratio of three meshes of 90  mm to one mesh of  270mm, or of a top panel of at least 140mm mesh size (square mesh);

 

(2) ‘Net grid selectivity device’ means a selectivity device consisting of a four panel section inserted into a two-panel trawl with an inclined sheet of diamond mesh netting with a mesh size of at least 200mm, leading to an escape hole in the top of the trawl.

 

(3) 'Flemish Panel' means the last tapered netting section of a beam trawl whose: – posterior is directly attached to the cod-end; – upper and lower netting sections are constructed of at least 120mm mesh as measured between the knots; – stretched length is at least 3m.

 

(4) 'SepNep' means an otter trawl which: – is constructed within the mesh size range of 80 to 99 +≥100mm; – is fitted with multiple cod-ends of mesh sizes ranging from at least 80 to 120mm attached to a single extension piece, the uppermost cod-end being constructed with a mesh size of at least 120mm and fitted with a separation panel with a maximum mesh size of 105mm; and –  may furthermore be fitted with an optional selection grid with a bar spacing of at least 17 mm provided it is constructed in such a way so as to allow the escape of small Norway lobster.

 

 

 

 

 

Specific technical measures in the Skagerrak

 

The EU and Norway have agreed specific fisheries management measures shall apply to vessels fishing in the Skagerrak.  These are:

 

1. The carrying on board or the use of any trawl, Danish seine, beam trawl or similar towed net having a mesh size of less than 120mm shall be prohibited in the Skagerrak.

 

2. By way of derogation, the following trawls may be used:

(a) trawls with a cod end having a mesh size of at least 90mm, provided they are equipped with a Seltra panel or a sorting grid with no more than 35mm bar spacing. 

(b) trawls with a cod end having a mesh size of at least 70mm (square mesh),  equipped with a sorting grid with no more than 35mm bar spacing; 

(c) trawls with a minimum mesh sizes of less than 70mm when fishing for pelagic or industrial species, provided the catch contains more than 80% of one or more pelagic or industrial species; 

(d) trawls with a cod end of at least 35mm mesh size when fishing for Northern prawn, provided the trawl is equipped with a sorting grid with a maximum bar spacing of 19mm.

 

 3.  A fish retention device may be used when fishing for Northern prawn, provided there are adequate fishing opportunities to cover bycatch and that the retention device is: 

(a) constructed with a top panel with a minimum mesh size of 120 mm square mesh; 

(b) at least 3 metres long; and (c)  at least as wide as the sorting grid.

 

 

 

 

North West Waters

 

De minimis and High Survivability Exemptions

 

Recording Catches

 

If you are discarding catches of fish under a high survival or de minimis exemption, then you MUST:-

 

  • Record all discarded quantities by fish species under the Landing Obligation exemptions and which exemption is being utilised.

  • An exemption can be withdrawn/closed if the levels of discard exceed the amounts agreed regionally.

 

Survivability exemptions

 

  • For catches of Norway lobster made with pots in ICES divisions 6a.

     

  • For catches of fish made with pots in ICES divisions 6a.

     

  • For catches of Norway lobster made with demersal trawls using a cod end between 80mm – 110mm and within 12 miles of shore in ICES divisions 6a.

     

  • For catches of skates and rays made by all fishing gears.The skates and rays must be released below the sea surface immediately.

     

 

Additional high survival exemptions available in the North Western waters are:

 

  • for common sole below the minimum conservation reference size (MCRS) caught with 80-99 mm otter trawl gears in ICES division 7d within six nautical miles from the coast and outside identified nursery areas. The exemption is included in the new discard plan for the years 2019-2021.

 

  • for Norway lobster caught using bottom trawls with a mesh size equal to or larger than 100 mm and for Norway lobster caught with bottom trawls with a mesh size of 70-99 mm in combination with selective gear options (TRI and TR2 fisheries) in ICES subarea 7. This exemption is included in the new discard plan for the years 2019-2021.

 

  • for plaice caught with trammel nets or otter trawls in ICES divisions 7d, 7e, 7f and 7g. This exemption is included in the new discard plan for the years 2019-2021.

 

  • for plaice caught in ICES divisions 7a-7k by vessels using beam trawls, with a maximum engine power of 221 kW, a maximum length of 24 meters, fishing within 12 nautical miles and with tow durations of no more than 1:30 hours and by vessels using beam trawls with an engine power of more than 221 kW, using a flip-up rope or benthic release panel.

The de minimis exemptions available in the North Western Waters are:

 

  • Whiting caught by vessels using bottom trawls and seines with a mesh size equal to or larger than 80 mm (OTB, OTT, OT, PTB, PT, SSC, SDN, SPR, SX, SV, TBN, TBS, TB, TX), pelagic trawls (OTM, PTM) and beam trawls (BT2) with a mesh size of 80-119 mm in ICES division 7d.

     

  • Whiting caught by vessels using bottom trawls and seines with a mesh size equal to or larger than 80 mm (OTB, OTT, OT, PTB, PT, SSC, SDN, SPR, SX, SV, TBN, TBS, TB, TX), pelagic trawls (OTM, PTM) and beam trawls (BT2) with a mesh size of 80-119 mm in ICES divisions 7b-c and 7e-k.

 

  • Common sole caught by vessels using TBB gear with a mesh size of 80-119mm and with increased selectivity in ICES divisions 7d, 7e, 7f, 7g and 7h.

     

  • Common sole caught by vessels using trammel and gill nets to catch common sole in ICES divisions 7d, 7e, 7f and 7g.

 

  • Haddock caught by vessels using bottom trawls, seines and beam trawls with a mesh size equal to or greater than 80 mm in ICES divisions 7b-c and 7e-7k.

 

  • Cod caught by vessels using bottom trawls, seines and beam trawls with a mesh size equal to or larger than 80 mm in ICES divisions 7b-c and 7e-7k.

 

  • Horse mackerel caught by vessels using bottom trawls, seines and beam trawls in ICES subarea 6 and ICES divisions 7b-7k.

 

  • Mackerel caught by vessels using bottom trawls, seines and beam trawls in ICES subarea 6 and ICES divisions 7b-7k.

 

Definitions

 

1. 'Flemish Panel' means the last tapered netting section of a beam trawl, the posterior of which is directly attached to the cod-end. The upper and lower netting sections of the panel must be constructed of at least 120 mm mesh as measured between the knots and the panel must have a stretched length of at least 3m.

 

2. ‘Seltra panel’ means a selectivity device which:

(a) consists of a top panel of at least 270 mm mesh size (diamond mesh) placed in a four-panel section and mounted with a joining ratio of three meshes of 90  mm to one mesh of  270 mm, or of a top panel of at least 140  mm mesh size (square mesh);

(b) is at least 3 metres long;

(c) is positioned no more than 4 metres from the cod line; and 

(d) is the full width of the top sheet of the trawl (i.e. from selvedge to selvedge);

 

3. ‘Netgrid selectivity device’ means a selectivity device consisting of a four panel section inserted into a two-panel trawl with an inclined sheet of diamond mesh netting with a mesh size of at least 200mm, leading to an escape hole in the top of the trawl;

4. ‘CEFAS Netgrid ’means a Netgrid selectivity device developed by The Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science for catches of Nephrops in the Irish Sea;

 

5. ‘Flip-flap trawl’ means a trawl equipped with a netting grid developed to reduce the capture of cod, haddock and whiting in Norway lobster fisheries;

 

6. ‘Flip-up rope’ means a gear modification on demersal beam trawls to help prevent stones and boulders entering the trawl and causing damage to both gear and catches;

 

7. ‘Benthic release panel’ means a panel of larger mesh or square mesh netting fitted into the lower panel of a trawl, usually a beam trawl to release any benthic material and seabed debris before it passes into the codend; 8. ‘Celtic Sea Protection Zone’ means the waters inside ICES divisions 7f, 7g and the part of 7j that lies North of latitude 50° N and East of 11° W.