NFFO Supports Channel Undulate Ray Initiative

26th March 2010 in Channel

The NFFO has written to the Fisheries Minister, Huw Irranca-Davies, urging him to support the Channel Islands/French initiative on undulate rays.

The text of the letter reads:

Dear Minister

Undulate Ray

I enclose a communication prepared by Jersey and French fishermen with the help of IFREMER, the French national fisheries institute. It is strongly supported by the NFFO.

Against the background of the blanket EU prohibition on landing undulate ray, the paper proposes a more targeted and evidence based approach; it has the dual merits of reducing discards, whilst strengthening information for the future management of fishing on this species.

The contrast between the direct experience of local abundance of undulate Ray in the South-Eastern part of the Western Channel (VIIe) and the overall weakness of ICES survey and landings data on skates and rays, gives this initiative, based on close collaboration between the fishing industry and scientists, a singular importance. If a means of enabling a targeted, managed, fishery under close scientific supervision in the undulate ray fishery is proved feasible, there is scope to explore whether a similar approach has relevance elsewhere.

The aim of the initiative is to provide the evidence-base that would allow a move away from blanket measures, that often have perverse consequences, and toward a sustainable, targeted fishery underpinned by robust collaborative science.

The point of writing to you is to solicit the UK’s support in making approaches to the Commission for approval for this important initiative.

We would be happy to discuss the proposal with you directly, should you want more detail.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely

Barrie Deas

Chief Executive

Comit~ Conjoint Consultatifde Ia Baje de Granville

Saint-Malo, 16 mars 2010

Mntinn eamnuuune

Ride brunette, Undulate Ray (Raja Undulata)

(English Translation)

The Regional Fishery Committees of Brittany (CRPMEM Br) and Basse-Normandie (CRPMEM RN) and the Jersey Fishermen’s Association (WA) present at the 16th of March 2010 meeting of the Joint Advisory Committee of the Bay de Granville Agreement, in the strongest possible terms, urgently reQuest that the Fisheries Ministers of the UK and France address the EU Commission on the particular case of the undulate ray (Raja Undulata) which is particularly abundant in the western area of the ICES VII E western Channel, also known as the statistical areas 26, 27, 28 E7 and 26. 27 ES.

ICES does not possess relevant data to justify such a radical decision as a total ban of the undulate ray fishery in all European waters. Notably, it is known that the distribution of this species is very uneven in European waters.

Following a demand made by France, the EU Commission requested the “STECF” issue new recommendations in April 2010. However, the STECF have very little data, most of which originate from oceanographic surveys in the East Channel where the undulate ray has only ever been found infrequently. (The same applies to “CPUE” from insufficient fish market data.)

The Granville Bay fishermen have always fished Undulate Ray and on a regular basis, but the landings were only classified as “Rays”. The only fish market to record undulate rays separately is the Cherbourg one. This enabled the CRPM of Basse-Normandie to have an overview of landings in Cherbourg. The CRPM RN has also carried out observations on board fishing boats and have registered the percentage of undulate rays in their catch, which can represent up to 35 % in tr~uwlk ,rncl 700/n in net entnhe~

Scientific observation surveys at sea are presently being carried out by the “OBSMER” (scientific observation aboard commercial vessels) and “FILMANCET” programs and can add data relevant to the undulate ray.

Jersey has carried out ray tagging campaigns and is acquiring biological data on captures (such as distribution and male maturity size).

In order to acquire more pertinent data, in terms of resource abundance and its localization but also for the biology of the species (graphs pertaining to size and weight, sex-ratio and minimum reproduction size) it would be important to reopen the fishery under scientific supervision — the conditions will have to be defined by the scientists of the various parties involved.

These data are obviously lacking in the ICES and STECE and would be necessary for them to give accurate and appropriate recommendations on the state of the resource and the effects of fishing in this precise area of the Normano-Breton Gulf