Under-10m group NUTFA also takes the view expressed during the recent Edinburgh meeting, which looked at measures to deal with choke species, that species that are going to cause the biggest choke problems should not all be left until they have to be included in the discards ban by 2019, reports Tim Oliver.

The North Sea and North West Waters high-level member state groups have to submit their proposals to the Commission by the end of May for the next species to be phased-in to the discards ban in 2017.

DEFRA has asked fishermen’s organisations for their views and NUTFA co-chairman Dave Cuthbert said it was difficult to know where to start.

“We’ve got a gentle start this year with no real choke species problems, but avoiding the choke species it’s just postponing the inevitable,” he told Fishing News.

“It’s all right saying let’s go for the easiest ones again next year, but you need to go for one of the more difficult ones to get experience of what will happen, and how to deal with it. If we wait until 2019 and everything comes in with a big bang, there will be real problems.

“You need to pick at least one difficult species otherwise you get all the difficult species at the same time. At least then you can experience it and say ‘what are we going to do about this?’.”

He said NUTFA had sent a list of possible species to DEFRA – it was not comprehensive, but everything had the potential to be a choke.

He said DEFRA had divided the TAC/quota species into three categories in relation to the under-10m fleet:

1: Not enough quota for the under-10s but quota available in the UK.

2: Not enough quota in UK but quota available in the EU overall.

3: Not enough quota, period.

“A lot of the species fall into cat 2 – for example VIId cod,” said Dave Cuthbert. “Even if the under-10s had all the English quota it still wouldn’t be enough. We still need the 800t the French have left at the end of the year, but they’re not going to give that up because they don’t want that extra fish on the market pulling down prices.

“They talk about inter-species quota interchangeability, but that’s not allowed unless the species concerned is up to MSY level. Then, if you’ve got cod, say, what are you going to swap it with? I can’t see you being allowed to catch more cod and call it whiting – I think that will be a last resort.”

Dave Cuthbert said that cod would be a big problem in VIId when it is included in the discards ban. “It’s such a front-loaded fishery; there’s so much cod there in January that whatever gear you put in the water it’ll catch cod – the quota will be gone in four or five weeks and the fishery will be choked.”

“Then if you look at the under-10 monthly allocations for other species, if they stay the same as now, it’s patently obvious they’re going to be choked very early.”

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Under-10m group NUTFA also takes the view expressed during the recent Edinburgh meeting, which looked at measures to deal with choke species, that species that are going to cause the biggest choke problems should not all be left until they have to be included in the discards ban by 2019, reports Tim Oliver.

The North Sea and North West Waters high-level member state groups have to submit their proposals to the Commission by the end of May for the next species to be phased-in to the discards ban in 2017.

DEFRA has asked fishermen’s organisations for their views and NUTFA co-chairman Dave Cuthbert said it was difficult to know where to start.

“We’ve got a gentle start this year with no real choke species problems, but avoiding the choke species it’s just postponing the inevitable,” he told Fishing News.

“It’s all right saying let’s go for the easiest ones again next year, but you need to go for one of the more difficult ones to get experience of what will happen, and how to deal with it. If we wait until 2019 and everything comes in with a big bang, there will be real problems.

“You need to pick at least one difficult species otherwise you get all the difficult species at the same time. At least then you can experience it and say ‘what are we going to do about this?’.”

He said NUTFA had sent a list of possible species to DEFRA – it was not comprehensive, but everything had the potential to be a choke.

He said DEFRA had divided the TAC/quota species into three categories in relation to the under-10m fleet:

1: Not enough quota for the under-10s but quota available in the UK.

2: Not enough quota in UK but quota available in the EU overall.

3: Not enough quota, period.

“A lot of the species fall into cat 2 – for example VIId cod,” said Dave Cuthbert. “Even if the under-10s had all the English quota it still wouldn’t be enough. We still need the 800t the French have left at the end of the year, but they’re not going to give that up because they don’t want that extra fish on the market pulling down prices.

“They talk about inter-species quota interchangeability, but that’s not allowed unless the species concerned is up to MSY level. Then, if you’ve got cod, say, what are you going to swap it with? I can’t see you being allowed to catch more cod and call it whiting – I think that will be a last resort.”

Dave Cuthbert said that cod would be a big problem in VIId when it is included in the discards ban. “It’s such a front-loaded fishery; there’s so much cod there in January that whatever gear you put in the water it’ll catch cod – the quota will be gone in four or five weeks and the fishery will be choked.”

“Then if you look at the under-10 monthly allocations for other species, if they stay the same as now, it’s patently obvious they’re going to be choked very early.”

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