Advantages of a days at sea system

  • Absolutely no black fish
  • Statistics are 100% correct
  • Discards will be zero
  • More fish will be landed from day one
  • Price of fish will increase as black fish will not undermine the market
  • Controls can be reduced and money saved
  • Industry efficiency will improve as no time is spent on illegal activity
  • No controller needed, saving every vessel up to £9500 per month
  • The fishing industry will be normalised and subsidies can be reduced to zero
  • Scientists learn more in one year than in maybe 10 years

Disadvantages of days at sea and how to resolve them

Segregation of different types of fishing gear is a challenge, as is too many vessels trying to catch a specific species.

Another challenge is that for the system to be fair and workable a conversion table for the value of one day at sea from one type of vessel to another type of vessel has to be made. This is a challenge but it was done in Faroe Islands with more than acceptable results.

The number of days was also based on the historical catch of each of four major species: cod, haddock, saithe and redfish.

The problem of everyone trying to catch a single species

The system was set up based on historical catches. There is a risk with fishing days that everybody may be trying to catch large quantities of one type of fish. This was intended to be solved by regulations allowing areas to be closed for fishing to some types of vessels.

Areas were also closed for different types of fishing gear. This was done so that it was not possible to fish in spawning areas or areas where only small fish are caught.

The fisheries minister can also stop fishing in an area when too many small fish are included in the catch. It is obligatory to report if a vessel is catching too many small fish.

It is also possible to protect particular species of fish from being over exploited.

Days at sea

Fishing effort by Faorese longliners…

Days at sea

… pair-trawlers…

Days at sea

… larger stern trawlers…

Days at sea

… and inshore boats is allocated by days at sea.

How to operate days at sea in UK

It is a simple job to copy the Faroese system, which has been working for 20 years.

In Britain, you have quotas. You only need to calculate how many days each vessel is currently using to catch his quota. In Faroe, all vessels of the same type have the same number of days. In Britain, you will allocate a different number of days according to the quota each vessel has today.

The most efficient currently use fewer days and others use more. It is not fair to allocate days on this basis, so some adjustment is needed. This can be done by averaging use of days and catch per day. A simple calculation is fast and easy to make.

My estimate is that it takes three months to set up the system, and three months to negotiate the details with fishermen and vessel owners – who are the experts and will make the system work.

Total cost is also very low. It would take probably three to five people to set up the system, in six months, for all the UK fishing fleet using available data.

When you establish a fisheries management system you have to think long term and find a system that is acceptable and possible to administer. Then you will get the best long term result.

Days at sea outperform quotas in every respect

Days at sea eliminates black fish and gives you reliable statistics. Discards will be eliminated. Fishing is more efficient – you save fuel and become more environmentally friendly. Days at sea will be accepted by the industry. Spawning stock biomass will be larger according to data. Scientists say days at sea are equal to quotas.

Every person with knowledge of the fishing industry will prefer days at sea. Every environmentalist will say days at sea outperforms quotas.

Statistics show that SSB is larger with days at sea than with quotas.

It is up to the politicians to decide. Hopefully this time they will not choose the status quo.

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