31st March 2012. Barrie Deas, Chief Executive of the NFFO, has written to Westminster’s fishery minister in response to quota allocation for Britain’s under-10 metre fleet.

While sympathetic to the Minister’s plight, he wrote: “Our fear is that the route that you appear to have chosen as a solution is about to satisfy no one whilst alienating many. The danger of your current course is that, as an industry, we will all be left worse off than before.”

He went on to suggest a number of possible solutions.

“The current focus on redistribution/reallocation/realignment, from the producer organisations to the under-10s, distracts from the central point which is that the problems facing the under-10s are multi-layered and that adjustments to the domestic quota arrangements, though attracting most attention and generating much heat, can only be a relatively minor part of any effective and lasting solution.

“We have previously explained how the problems facing the under-10m sector evolved from the 1980s and 1990s; there is no need to go over that ground again. If however, there is a genuine will within Defra to put the under-10m fisheries on sustainable and profitable footing, it is necessary to deal with the underlying structural issues rather than treating the symptoms.

“Against this background, our advice is:

1.Defer implementation of the pilot projects and redistributions until 1st January 2013; use the intervening period to develop a comprehensive solution to the problems in the under-10m fleet; this makes sense at a number of levels, not least preparing the ground for the pilots adequately and rebuilding cooperative links between the POs and the under-10s that are currently failing in a fog of fear and mutual suspicion. We believe that NUTFA and UKAFPO could be persuaded of the value of such as an approach.

2. Identify the core under-10 fisheries in which pool catch limits seriously constrain the fleet; the MMO statistics that we have seen so far suggest that this is a specific and geographically focused problem rather than the widespread and generic problem that has been portrayed. Solutions should be focused on these specific fisheries. This does not preclude more general support for the under-10 fleet but would have the merit of recognising that quota shortage is not a generic problem for this sector of the fleet and focusing policy accordingly.

3. Address the underlying problem of skewed fleet development. The fact that around 14% of the under-10m fleet catches around 70% of the pool allocations suggests that this is a core aspect of the problem. Any policy approach to the under-10s is unlikely to succeed unless this point is addressed explicitly.

4. Address the structural overcapacity in the under-10 m fleet. We are open to discussing a voluntary decommissioning scheme that is not wholly funded by government. Over the last 20 years the English over-10m fleet has been reduced by over 50% to fit its quotas; the numbers of under-10s have remained broadly static whilst their catching capacity has increased; we are not suggesting that a similar fleet contraction is necessary for the under-10s - but this sector of the fleet should be assisted to make an adjustment to balance capacity with fishing opportunities on a voluntary basis. We would suggest that a limited scheme (decommissioning, or some form of licence parking) targeted at the high catching under-10 would offer best value for money. It would be worth investigating that the type of transitioning finance linked to a Fisheries Improvement Plan highlighted at the recent launch of the International Sustainability Unit might be available from the World Bank or charitable foundations.

5. Dealing with the issue of latent capacity must inescapably be part of the policy.

6. Proceed with developing ways in which tailored quota management can be brought to the under-10m sector; encourage cooperation between POs and under-10m pilot groups at a regional level; the under-10s currently have quota assets that are not being used to their best advantage.

7. Underutilised quotas whilst other fishermen go short are not defensible. However, if there is market failure this should be addressed as such rather than reverting to the inherent limitations of administrative redistribution. Much can be achieved in a spirit of cooperation. The corollary is also true: cooperation will evaporate in an atmosphere of fear and suspicion.

8. Recognise that in some important instances relative stability shares are the underlying issue, rather than domestic quota distribution. The obvious example is cod in the Eastern channel where France holds 84% of the quota and the UK holds 7%: tinkering with domestic quota management rules can only have a limited influence on outcomes. Without destabilising relative stability, we believe that against the background of increasing TACs, it should be possible to secure significant additional tonnages of stocks of importance to the under-10m fleet through astute exchanges with other member states; this will not be cost free so it is worth considering what the UK is willing to trade in return – this need not be restricted to quota. It is time to be imaginative.

9. It is also worth reflecting on the fact that if TACs had remained at 1990 levels there would barely have been an under-10m quota problem that couldn’t have been addressed through underpinning and licensing constraints; the recent trend towards increasing TACs reflecting rebuilt stocks should provide more room for manoeuvre.

10. If, as part of a comprehensive package as described above, it is still necessary for you to consider quota redistribution as a last resort, this should be undertaken as part of a one-off adjustment in which security of quota through a formal system of user-rights discussed and agreed with the producer organisations.”

Skills Boost for Cornwall and Devon Fishing Industry

Duchy College has announced that it, with support from Seafood Cornwall Training and the Sea Fish Industry Authority, will deliver apprenticeships in fish and shellfish proficiency skills in the UK's Cornwall and Devon.

The fish and shellfish apprenticeship programme is aimed at processing and retail businesses in the region and will provide opportunities for the smallest fishmonger to the largest processor in the region. Support is even available for national supermarket chains that trade in the region.

Chris Shepherd of Duchy College said “As part of the Cornwall College Group, Duchy has access to substantial funding support for apprenticeships throughout the region and we consider ourselves experts in the delivery of a range of apprenticeship frameworks. However, we’re not experts in fish and shellfish which is why we intend to collaborate with Seafood Cornwall Training. The apprenticeship framework was only launched this year and we are one of the first regions in the UK to offer the framework region-wide in this way.”

Sarah Crosbie of Seafood Cornwall Training is confident that the new collaboration will provide a valuable additional service to the seafood industry in the South West. “We already have some employers who have expressed an interest in this new apprentice framework and we would like to hear from more employers looking to train and develop new and existing staff.”

The fish and shellfish apprenticeship is suitable for operatives and team leaders in the onshore sectors of the seafood industry. Higher level qualifications and training programmes are also available from Duchy College.

This new initiative will be launched on Wednesday 14th March 2012 with a workshop and open day at Duchy College in Stoke Climsland for employers and prospective apprentices alike.

More information will be available during national Apprenticeship Week, which this year starts on the 6th February.

Wave Hub in Cornwall gets first energy device

Ocean Energy device
A quarter-size version of the wave energy buoy is tested in Galway Bay 

 

A wave energy firm has agreed to install the first device at the Wave Hub off the north Cornwall coast.

Irish firm Ocean Energy expects to deploy a full-scale device at the hub by the end of 2012.

It said an offer by the Wave Hub company to match the cost of its deployment expenses up to £1m was critical to the deal.

The Wave Hub, an electrical "socket" for testing wave energy machines, was put on the seabed off Hayle in 2010.

Ocean Energy's OE buoy generates electricity from a turbine turned by air being forced by wave action through a chamber.

It will send the electricity via a cable to the Wave Hub, which is linked to the coast by another electric cable laid on the seabed to a substation at Hayle.

'Major player'

Cork-based Ocean Energy has been testing a quarter-scale prototype of its buoy in Galway Bay for three years.

John McCarthy, chief executive and co-founder of Ocean Energy, said the offer of up to £1m match-funding from the Regional Development Agency (RDA) was "critical" to the firm choosing Wave Hub.

He said: "I cannot say that we would not have taken the decision to use Wave Hub without the cash, but it was very important.

"It also showed that the RDA is serious about making Wave Hub a major player in wave energy testing."

Wave Hub general manager Claire Gibson said: "By supporting Ocean Energy's deployment now we can fully test our operational procedures."

Ocean Energy's decision means that two of Wave Hub's four berths off Hayle on the north coast of Cornwall in south-west England have been reserved.

US and UK-based Ocean Power Technologies (OPT) has signed a "commitment agreement" to deploy its PowerBuoy device, although no date has been fixed.

An OPT spokesman said: "The company has projects all over the world.

"South-west England remains a core area of interest but a decision to deploy depends on the business case."

4th February 2012. 

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2nd February 2012. Seafish update – industry meetings moved

Seafish has taken the decision to move next week’s follow-up meetings with the UK fishing industry to later in the month while it waits on the final detail of its new operating structure and objectives being agreed.

The events, originally scheduled to begin next week at various venues across the UK, will now take place on new dates, hoped to be later in the month, with a full schedule of times and venues, published on the Seafish website.

The meetings had been scheduled as part of the follow up to the Defra led conversations with the fishing industry held in the latter part of 2011 about the future role, remit and operating structure of Seafish

Commenting on the decision, CEO Paul Williams said: “I am excited about what Seafish has to offer the industry and we are just finalising the last detail of our structure before we have our conversations with them. I am hopeful that opportunity will arrive in the next week or so''.

26th January 2012. Ban preventing netting of fish off St Ives is lifted

A ban has been lifted on netting fish in part of Cornwall which was imposed after 100 sea birds were found drowned. The Cornwall Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (CIFCA) activated a by-law preventing the netting of fish around St Ives Bay. Fishermen were excluded from the area from 5-26 January.Chief Officer Edwin Derriman said: "It has been opened. It's done what it needed to do and that's separate the nets from the birds."He said: "There are no issues at all and the vessels are working as normal."

19th January 2012. Seals blamed for lack of cod recovery, full story here :- http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/story/2012/01/16/ns-seal-cod-research.html

Two bodies found in sea search 

Divers searching for five missing fishermen off the west Cork coast have recovered two bodies today. 19/01/2012.

The body of Egyptian fisherman Attea Shaban (26) from the Tit Bonhomme  was found by Garda divers at around 9.45am this morning.

At 12.20pm, the body of Kevin Kershaw (21) a first-time crew member from Clonakilty, was located. It is believed that body was found some 100 yards from the sunken vessel. The body was removed to Cork University Hospital.

Five crewmen from the Tit Bonhomme  went missing after the boat sank near the entrance to Glandore Harbour on Sunday morning.

Skipper Michael Hayes (52) from Helvick Head was lost along with Kevin Kershaw and three Egyptian fishermen: Wael Mohammed (35), his cousin, Said Mohammed (23) and Attea Shaban (26).

The Naval Service said the LE Niamh  remained on station in Glandore Bay, acting as the on-scene coordinating vessel. A remotely operated vehicle (ROV) is being used to search parts of the Tit Bonhomme that are inaccessible to divers.

The specialist naval dive team has completed multiple dives throughout the day in the vicinity of the vessel and will continue diving operations in tandem with gardaí into the evening, the Naval Service said.

The naval service dive team will recommence diving operations at first light if conditions remain favourable.

An account has been set up for the families of the missing fishermen, and donations can be made to the Trawler Search fund, AIB, Skibbereen.

 

18th January 2012. Sadly hopes of finding any more survivors from the Irish fishing boat Tit Bonhomme,. which sank off the coast of Cork on Sunday morning, have all but faded.

Coastguard search for three after trawler sinks off Cork coast


A major search and rescue operation is underway off the south coast after a fishing vessel sank this morning.

The Irish trawler with six men on board went down off Union Hall in Co Cork this morning.

One man has been airlifted to safety, another two have been located but three men are still missing.

Two helicopters as well as a number of lifeboats are taking part in the rescue operation which is concentrated at the entrance to Union Hall harbour where some wreckage was found.

Vincent O'Donovan, who is with Courtmacsherry Lifeboat, said the rescue effort is being hampered by the bad weather.





Read more: http://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/ireland/coastguard-search-for-three-after-trawler-sinks-off-cork-coast-535960.html#.TxKtdlvvgDg.twitter#ixzz1jWjblUts

Bird deaths prevent netting of fish in St Ives Bay

The deaths of more than 100 sea birds has triggered the first use of a by-law temporarily preventing fisherman from netting fish in a Cornish bay.

Cornwall Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (CIFCA) said the area around St Ives Bay would be closed between 5-26 January.

CIFCA said the regulation was triggered after more than 100 sea birds died after becoming caught in the nets.

Anyone found netting in the exclusion zone could be fined up to £50,000.

'Caught unawares'

Chief officer for CIFCA Edwin Derriman said: "It's such an odd occurrence and quite emotive when it happens."

It is thought the situation arose when bad weather meant fisherman could not go out to fish and sea birds and fish were forced into the bay.

"I think they've [fisherman] been caught unawares, usually they're able to fish in the dark when birds aren't flying, but I think they misjudged it, so they put the nets in the water, but by the time their boats floated again they'd been two hours of daylight again," Edwin Derriman said.

"It's a lesson to them and I'm confident we won't see the by-law used again."

The suspension enforced by the St Ives Bay Gill Net Fishery Byelaw is thought to be the only one of its kind in the country.

CIFCA said the temporary closure affected the area in St Ives Bay, "on the landward side of a line drawn between St Ives Head and the northern extremity of the Black Cliffs (east of Hayle estuary)".

Funding available for Cornish fishermen to complete under 16.5m Skipper’s Tickets

Cornish Fishermen have until 31 March 2012 to take advantage of 100% funding towards the Seafish Under 16.5m Skipper’s Certificate or £1000 towards an MCA Deck or Engineer Officer Certificate of Competency.

Courses that will be provided free-of-charge consist of Bridge Watchkeeping (2-day and 5-day*), Engineroom Watchkeeping (1-day, 2-day and 5-day), Intermediate Stability Awareness (1-day). Together with the GMDSS Short Range (Radio Operator) Certificate, these courses make up the proposed requirements for skippers of vessels less than 16.5m, which MCA intends to make mandatory.

17th December 2011. Fisheries Council meeting.

Some good cheer emanating from this year's Fisheries Council meting for the UK fishing fleet. news coming out of the council meeting indicate that for Scottish fishermen the 4 day at sea a fortnight ruling may have been overturned in favour of a 4 day week. Quotas for North Sea haddock and herring appear to have been doubled. News of quota targets that apply to the waters off the south west has yet to reach the shore of Cornwall.


More of this story here :-   http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-16230086

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