Choke Fears on Skates and Rays

1st October 2014 in South East, TACs and Quotas

The early exhaustion of the skates and rays quota for the eastern channel (VIId) has raised the spectre of widespread fleet tie-ups under the landing obligation, unless the issue is addressed directly. Tony Delahunty, Chairman of the NFFO, and also Chairman of the Federation’s South East Committee, has voiced his concerns about the future.

“It is bad enough that we face a closure on this important fishery in September with three months more of the year to run. But my fear is that if this was repeated under the landings obligation then practically the whole South East fleet would have to tie up or face the risk of prosecution. The boats will be in the impossible legal position of not being able to discard the fish, but not able to legally land them either.”

“This underscores the need for the regional discard plans, when they appear, to provide a way out of this impasse. We know that conservation of skates and rays are difficult because there are many different individual species with different conservation status. But the solution definitely does not lie with blanket measures and fleet tie-ups.”

“In the meantime, it is vital that the MMO does all it can to get this fishery reopened by swapping in additional quota, domestically, or more likely through an international swap.”