The Danish Fisheries Association chief claims that the Fisheries Minister’s plans for camera surveillance is out of proportion
The Minister uses misleading and manipulative figures in discussion of camera surveillance in the Kattegat, claims the Danish Fisheries Association.
The catch of cod in the Kattegat is significantly lower in 2020 than in 2018, and the experience from the camera project shows that the catch of cod in the Kattegat is minimal if you look at vessel level, where the catch is limited to a few cod per haul or 500 grams. That is why it is shooting sparrows with cannons when Minister of Fisheries Rasmus Prehn clings to the 65% increase from 2019 to 2020, and airs thoughts of mandatory camera surveillance in Danish fisheries in edition of Politiken on Friday 10 December.
“In Danish fisheries, we are working hard to reduce our discards, and it has been significantly reduced since 2018 in the Kattegat. Even though the percentages are high, the quantities are small. We are talking few cod per haul with a weight of 500 grams per haul. It is grotesquely manipulative to cling to the high percentage increase from 2019 to 2020 when the actual catches are not greater than is the case. Then it looks much more violent than is the case, and although there has been an increase from 2019 to 2020, the quota is nowhere near being fished, and we expect discards to fall in 2021, as we have only fished a quarter of the quota,” says Svend-Erik Andersen.
The background for the camera experiment in the Kattegat is that the cod stock in the Kattegat is in poor condition. Therefore, at the end of 2020, the Minister of Fisheries initiated monitoring of initially 12 nephrops fishing vessels to document any discards of cod that the lobster fishermen receive as by-catch.
A new evaluation of the project, which the Danish Fisheries Agency has made, and as a mention in today’s Politiken shows that in 275 hauls 44 kilos of cod have been released. This corresponds to an average of 160 grams of cod per haul. It is part of the calculation that the fishermen cannot register smaller quantities than one kilo.
“Camera surveillance is a suspicion of the profession – completely out of proportion. Both in terms of legal certainty, professionally and financially. We see no need whatsoever to make this scheme permanent, but we would really like to talk about what else we can do to reduce discards.”
Svend-Erik Andersen emphasizes that rules exist to be kept, but that the attempt at something shows that the Kattegat fishermen largely do not catch cod.
It also appears from the Danish Fisheries Agency’s evaluation of the camera project that it can not be documented at all that the cameras lead to a changed fishing pattern. On the other hand, it has been seen that counseling and guidance have helped. Therefore, Svend-Erik Andersen appeals to the project to continue as a voluntary scheme, which the chairman of the fishery is happy to collaborate on:
“We will use the report to emphasize the need for volunteering. For the report, a psychologically stressful work environment on camera-monitored boats documents where stress and fear of making mistakes prevail. Does the government really want to demand such drastic methods in the Danish labour market? I would strongly urge that we instead find a solution where the project can continue on a voluntary basis and in addition focus on guidance and advice that the report finds works. We would like to talk further about this with the Minister.”