Proposal to Limit the Number of Multi-Rigged Fishing Gear Towed Simultaneously
At the request of the Fishing Industry producer organisations it is proposed to bring forward a statutory Instrument which will restrict the maximum number of nets that utilise a single cod end which can be towed simultaneously to four. If nets are rigged with double(or more) cod ends the number of nets towed simultaneously cannot exceed two.
The change will primarily impact on Irish vessels fishing Nephrops (Prawns) in ICES Zones VI and VII. UK vessels fishing under a Bi-lateral agreement (Vosinage) will also be subject to the restriction.
The move to quad rigs in the Nephrops fishery has been a relatively recent development and some vessels have experimented with 6 or 8 rigs set ups. However, the full implications of using multi-rigs above 2 are not fully understood and it may have implications for the stock and wider marine environment. There is concern that there is currently an escalation in the number of rigs which are being used. It is important that until the implications of following this path are better understood, that the number of cod-ends be limited to quad rigs in the first instance. When the full impact of this gear is better understood it may be possible to take either a more or a less permissive approach to the number of rigs.
The proposal will be given effect in a Statutory Instrument which will make it an offence under the Sea Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction Act 2006 for a vessel to exceed 4, being the maximum number of nets that utilise a single cod end which can be towed simultaneously. If nets are rigged with double(or more) cod ends the number of nets towed simultaneously cannot exceed two.
It is intended that these measures will have effect from 1 August 2015.
Interested parties may submit comments in writing to FisheriesConsultation@agriculture.gov.ie by 5pm on Friday 19th June 2015
Or by Post to
Sea Fisheries Policy and Management Division
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
National Seafood Centre