A consultation on Dogger Bank scallop fishing has seen all respondents request the closure remain in place until the end of February 2021.
Three bodies representing large fishing / industry groups, responded to the consultation. In summary all three responses were in favour of the proposed closure. All respondents asked to extend the closure until the end of February 2021.
No responses opposing the proposed closure until 01 October 2020 were received.
Having considered the consultation responses UKFAs initially decided to extend the closure of the king scallop fishery in the eight ICES rectangles: 39F1, 39F2, 39F3, 38F1, 38F2, 38F3, 37F1 and 37F2 until 11 October 2020.
A further Cefas survey of the area was expected to commence on 30 September and run for 4 days to conclude by 4 October, to obtain additional data on the spawning condition of the stock. A closure extension until 11 October was seen as giving enough time to consider the results of this survey and communicate them to industry. The additional time would have given the UKFAs time to discuss and agree next steps for the fishery with industry.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) would have funded the Cefas research vessel RV Endeavour to allow samples and scientific data to be gathered from the Dogger Bank area.
However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic there have been delays to the RV Endeavour survey schedule which resulted in the vessel no longer being available to undertake the second round of Dogger Bank survey work.
A further report from Cefas on hydrographic/scallop larval distribution and scallop ageing work is expected in early 2021. UKFAs have therefore agreed to extend the closure beyond 11 October 2020 until 28 February 2021. This is in line with the request from the three respondents to extend the closure and with the SICG intention to implement a voluntary closure until 1 March 2021.
The UKFAs would like to thank the industry for the work they have done to date. We are committed to continuing to work with the scallop industry throughout the closure, during the review and in any subsequent decisions or actions that result from the data gathering.
You can find the full report here.