The Danish Fisheries Agency report into electronic monitoring cameras onboard fishing vessels in the Kattegat have found them an effect control method
The Danish Fisheries Agency has announced that its evaluation report “Electronic Monitoring of the Norway Lobster Fishery in Kattegat: Comprehensive Project Evaluation” is now ready.
The main conclusion of the report is that camera documentation is an effective control method, especially for documenting catches and thus complying with landing obligations.
In connection with the setting of quotas for 2020, it was decided to introduce electronic monitoring with camera documentation in most of the Danish fishery with bottom trawl gear in Kattegat. The evaluation report concludes that electronic monitoring is an effective tool for documenting catches and complying with landing obligations.
The first phase of the project involved 12 voluntary vessels, while the project in the last phase has included up to 73 vessels.
In the project, there have been discards of commercially valuable species. Throughout the project period, fishermen’s registration of undersized (BMS) fish has increased significantly after the vessels have had cameras installed.
In 2022 and 2023, the 12 vessels that had cameras installed in the first phase of the project have been able to function as a control group. For these vessels, there is not the same significant increase in the registration of BMS fish as has been observed overall in 2022 and 2023.
Facts and figures about the project:
– 73 vessels have had camera systems installed as part of the camera project in Kattegat.
– Fishermen’s self-registration of roundnose grenadier, whiting, and cod has increased in 2022 and 2023 after the installation of cameras.
Overall, after three years of the project, the experience is that electronic monitoring is a well-functioning control method, especially for documenting catches and thereby complying with landing obligations.
The Danish Fishermen’s Association position
Exactly as expected, it shows that the bycatch of cod in the Kattegat is minimal. That is why forced camera surveillance is completely out of proportion, says the Danish Fishermen’s Association.
Ever since it was decided that camera surveillance should be introduced in the Kattegat, the Danish Fishermen’s Association has made it clear that the bycatch of cod in the nephrops fishery in the Kattegat is absolutely minimal.
Therefore, it explains that it is like shooting house sparrows with cannons if you introduce forced camera surveillance in Danish fisheries.
It states, the Danish Fisheries Agency’s evaluation of the camera project in the Kattegat, which has just arrived, does not change that picture.
It is absolutely essential to state that the camera project makes no difference whatsoever to the stock of cod. Bycatch is minimal. This is again confirmed in this report. Therefore, we still believe that forced camera surveillance is disproportionate. And then there is a need to deal with the factors that put pressure on the cod population. This particularly applies to the discharge of nutrients from land, which anyone can see is a huge problem,” says Svend-Erik Andersen, chairman of the Danish Fishermen’s Association.
Commenting on the findings of the report, the Danish Fishermen’s Association says it recognises that camera surveillance is an effective control instrument, which is also evident from the report.
The report also states that it is very intrusive towards the individual fisherman. Therefore, the scheme should be voluntary, says the Association.
“It is not a surprise that camera surveillance is an effective control instrument. Of course, monitoring people is effective. But in this case it does not measure up to the dividend. It is unreasonable pressure that is placed on the individual fisherman, and it is a significant deterioration of the working environment when you monitor the fishermen’s work. There is no room for the slightest mistake. Therefore, camera surveillance must only be voluntary. Everything else is unfair to all the fishermen who do their best to comply with the complicated rules,” says Svend-Erik Andersen.
Ready for collaboration and dialogue
Finally, the Danish Fishermen’s Association states that it is ready for dialogue and cooperation about the future of the camera project, where the keywords must be volunteering, guidance and positive incentives.
“We very much hope that we can collaborate on the future of the camera project. We want a voluntary arrangement where, through guidance and clear positive incentives, you can create the framework for a project in which fisheries can see themselves. A project where the data that is collected is also used to ensure that there is better coherence between the size of the fishing quotas and the size of the fish stocks,” says Svend-Erik Andersen.