Both sides of the Christmas break have seen intense activity at Westminster as the Fisheries…
The MMO and NFFO have agreed to work together on safety, cost issues and the significantly increased burden on skippers, associated with implementing the EU obligation to use electronic logbooks.
A meeting between the Federation and a team of senior MMO officials this week discussed a range of problems with introducing e-logs. A number of shortcomings were identified which, contrary to intentions, have increased the burden on skippers of completing and submitting logbooks. Some of these are teething troubles which are likely to be resolved as the system beds in for vessels over-15 meters and between 12m and 15m; but others appear to be of a more systemic and deep rooted nature and require more fundamental change.
It was agreed that the transition to e-logs had created problems in monitoring UK uptake of quota and effort, as well as imposing additional burdens on skippers. As both Government and the industry have a deep interest in accurate and timely catch recording it is important that these are resolved as quickly as possible.
The Federation reaffirmed its view that the UK should take advantage of the available EU derogation to exempt day-boats and vessels which operate exclusively within UK limits, from the obligation to move from paper logbooks - at very least until the problem areas are resolved for the larger vessels.
The safety issue relates to the pressure on day boats obliged to complete their e-logs before landing when steaming for harbour along with up to 40 other vessels, when absolute navigational vigilance is required.
It was agreed to set up a users-group to channel industry concerns into the MMO and to oversee port trouble-shooters who would help to resolve a range of problems at vessel level. Meanwhile, the MMO was dealing with more systemic problems by better training and increased staff at the UK Call Centre.
The meeting, which was one of regular discussions between the NFFO and MMO to air industry concerns also covered:
- Management measures within marine protected areas
- How to maintain coherence in management measures within arrangements with a high degree of decision-making decentralised to devolved administrations
- MMO plans for engine power tests.
Further information on these matters will be circulated to Federation members shortly.