Danish fishing vessel owners having CCTV installed on their boats as part of an REM project are concerned with the lack of a contract
Danish fishing vessel owners who have been chosen to have cameras installed on their vessels as part of an remote electronic monitoring project, have expressed concern that the Danish Fisheries Agency have not yet presented them with a contract.
“The first vessels have been visited by the inspection with a view to preparing a vessel plan,” says Jacob Handrup from the Danish Fisheries Association, who himself was present when the inspection was on board the ships to prepare a vessel plan.
He says that the work of preparing the vessel plans is characterized by a good dialogue between control and the fishermen:
“There is basically a good tone, and I experience that the control is very solution-oriented, they listen, and they try to help the fisherman get some solutions that affect him and his fishing as little as possible in the working day,” says Jacob Handrup.
On that front, then, there is only positive to report. But with that said, there are still major frustrations to be found because fishermen cannot get clarification on what they are really getting into from the Danish Fisheries Agency.
The conditions for the project have not yet been defined in writing and this means that the fishermen who have signed up to participate have not yet received clarification on how the project will affect their fisheries. Are they allocated trial quotas as they have been offered with the understanding paper? Should the camera film 24/7? And can they become part of an experimental fishery in closed areas?
The questions are many, but the answers are missing. And before the answers are there, it will be difficult to move forward with the project.
Vessel plans do not equal acceptance
So far, three vessels have had a vessel plan drawn up for camera installation. These are vessels from Grenå, Bønnerup and Gilleleje. Due to closure, the North Jutland vessels have not yet had a vessel plan prepared, but it is expected that this work will be started now that North Jutland has been reopened.
Jacob Handrup encourages all fishermen who have signed up for the project to have a vessel plan prepared, even if the framework for the project is not yet in place:
“I would like to encourage the fishermen to take a positive part in the work of drawing up a vessel plan for their ship, even though a number of issues still need clarification. The fact that one vessel plan is prepared does not mean that one commits to participate in the project,” says Jacob Handrup.
He points out that only when the conditions for the project are described, the participating fishermen must decide whether they can see themselves in it.
The framework must be in place
Claus Hjørne Pedersen, chairman of the Strandby fishing association, says that he can easily understand if several of the fishermen who have signed up for the project have begun to hesitate. Because it is necessary that there are some very clear guidelines from the agency that describe the framework for the project, so that the fishermen know what they are getting into:
“In order for us to move forward with this project, it is necessary that there are some specific conditions in writing from the agency. We have fulfilled our part of the agreement, we have found some fishermen who would like to participate in this project, but if we are to move on from here, then the agency will have to define some clear framework for the project. The fishermen must of course know what they are saying yes to, and they must also have the carrot that they have been promised according to the common understanding paper, it sounds from Claus Hjørne Pedersen.
“He therefore calls on the agency to get a clarification work started as soon as possible, so that the framework can be put in place. Because before the fishermen can read the conditions of the project in black and white, it will be very difficult to ensure their participation in the project.”