Seafish has announced the working principles for the UK Gear Forum which will be chaired by gear technology expert Mike Montgomery

Seafish has announced the working principles for the UK Gear Forum which will be chaired by gear technology expert Mike Montgomery

Seafish has announced the working principles for the UK Gear Forum which brings together the fishing industry, fisheries research and UK-wide governments to discuss and progress activities to advance sustainability and wild capture fisheries.

The forum will look at the issues through the lens of selective gear innovations, along with considering economic, environmental and social sustainability factors.

Following an inaugural meeting in the summer, gear technology expert Mike Montgomery was appointed as Chair of the Forum.

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Members have also now agreed working principles to take forward into 2023 and beyond. This sets out the priority work themes for the group:

  1. Advancing the research evidence-base to inform the development of new policy and technical measures.
  2. An operating framework in which fishers are able to demonstrate and deploy more selective fishing gear designs.
  3. Tangible outputs which provide practical solutions to address priority industry challenges and needs.
  4. Timely dissemination of work outputs – and sign-posting to other good practice, including case studies – and in appropriate formats for the intended audiences.
  5. Further development and delivery of fit-for-purpose training resources for fishers and non-fishers.

These themes will inform a work programme to be taken forward by ‘task and finish’ working groups focused on delivering practical solutions and outcomes.

“We convened the initial Forum meetings. We will continue to provide the secretariat and will support the Forum in delivery of its agreed workplan going forward,” says Seafish.

Dr Stuart McLanaghan, our Head of Responsible Sourcing said:

“Advances in selective gear innovations are an important part of responsible fisheries management and central to the delivery of key fisheries objectives under the Fisheries Act 2020. We’ve convened the UK Gear Forum to provide a pan-UK platform for industry, the research community and government to discuss and progress activities with the goal of advancing sustainability in all wild capture static and mobile fisheries.

“I’m thrilled that Mike Montgomery has come on board as Chair, bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience in gear technology, trials and innovations. It’s also great that members have now agreed the working principles for the Forum.”

seafish uk gear forumMike Montgomery, Chair of the UK Gear Forum added:

“I’m pleased to take on the role of Chair for the UK Gear Forum and to be able to work with a Forum that aims to improve gear selectivity and vessel efficiency in the UK. I hope that my many years of experience with the UK fishing industry can be put to good use in helping the UK Gear forum be beneficial to the industry and industry managers.”

Ben Collier, Fisheries Conservation Technologist from Northern Ireland Gear Trials is another UK Gear Forum member. He added:

“Fishing gear technology has often been associated with developing new approaches to avoid unwanted catch. The sustainability and climate change objectives of the Fisheries Act, alongside net zero commitments, blue carbon habitats and the circular economy are widening the focus of this work. The UK Gear Forum brings together members with a range of skills and expertise along with a shared interest in helping the fishing industry to identify solutions to these challenges.”

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