It’s early days for the landing obligation, given the magnitude of the changes…
Electronic Net Gauge
The EU exemption from using the new electronic mesh gauge expires on 1st September.
From that date onwards, therefore, fisheries officers will use the new gauges instead of the traditional hand held wedge gauge.
The advantage and main selling point of the new gauge is that it provides consistency as it is not dependent on the pressure applied by hand which can vary significantly.
There are a number of concerns within the industry about what results the new gauge will give in practice and whether sufficient training has been given to fisheries officers.
The Federation has raised these issues with the MFA and has elicited the following response:
- The new gauges will be in use from 1st September
- They will provide greater consistency than the manual gauges
- All fisheries offices have now been supplied with the new gauges
- An education period will be allowed to allow all parties time to adjust to the new gauge
- Fishermen are invited to ask their local fishery office for a demonstration of the new gauge in operation to judge how it compares with the manual gauge.
- For convenience, it would be best if these demonstrations are arranged in conjunction with local fishermen’s associations to ensure access to as many fishermen as possible
Aside from the issue of net gauges, the Federation has requested a resumption in the series of meetings between the NFFO and the Royal Navy and the MFA to address a range of issues, including protocol for boardings at sea.
Members will be advised when a date for the first of these meetings has been set.