Western Waters crab updated

The MMO has updated details on the approach to managing the Western Waters crab fishing sector to keep the fishery within EU effort limits.

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) has updated details on the approach to managing the over 15 metre Area VII crab fishing sector to keep the fishery within EU effort limits.

It was decided that days at sea limits will be set for vessels operating in this area for the full 2020 year. This will be enforced via a licence variation. The limit set out below will be applicable to all over 15 metre vessels with a shellfish entitlement operating in area VII and targeting crabs under the Western Waters regime.

The MMO will actively monitor days at sea uptake by vessels and review discussions will take place later in 2020 to evaluate uptake to date and discuss the management approach for the remainder of 2020.

If the UK looks like it will exceed effort limits prior to 31 December 2020 as set by the Commission, then fisheries administrations will be required to close the area VII crab fishery to over 15 metre vessels for the remainder of the year in line with the Western Waters regime.

Final effort uptake for the 2019 management year is now available.

The allocation of days from 00.01 hours on 1 January 2020 to 31 December 2020 is 200 days.

Crab effort uptake for 2020 (last updated 18 August 2020)

Area European limit (kilowatt days) Real-time uptake to date (kilowatt days) Percentage of effort used to date
VII 543,366 221,946 41%
V-VI 702,292 264,354 38%

The Western Waters Days at Sea scheme detailed below applies to UK fishing vessels, 15 metre and over in length, fishing for Edible/Brown Crab (Cancer Pagurus) and spider crab (Maja Squinado ) in International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) Area VII.

Days at Sea Limits

The maximum number of days a vessel can fish for crabs in ICES Area VII is established in the vessel’s fishing licence.

Any days remaining at the end of a management period will not be transferred across management periods.

Days at sea are not transferable between fishing vessels.

The number of days spent at sea will be monitored for enforcement purposes by MMO/Devolved Administration offices. However, it is your responsibility to monitor your uptake and be aware of how many days you have available. If you wish to check the information held by the MMO on your vessel’s activity you should contact your local MMO coastal office.

It is an offence to exceed the maximum number of days at sea established in your vessel’s fishing licence, and action may be taken in accordance with the relevant fisheries administration’s compliance and enforcement strategy.

The effort limit is an annual limit and is set in consultation with the vessels active in the fishery, with the aim of maximising uptake of available effort. For 2020 the annual limit will be reviewed every other month, starting in February, and will be increased if fleet size and activity levels permit.

Recording of days at sea

Days at sea are counted in calendar days (midnight to midnight) or part thereof. For example a fishing trip leaving port at 0200h and returning to port at 0100h the following day counts as two calendar days. In comparison, a fishing trip leaving port at 1000h and returning at 1700h the following day is also counted as 2 calendar days.

Trip data must be recorded in UTC (universal time constant) with no daylight saving adjustment.

Steaming trips are not counted against a vessel’s days at sea providing that no gear is deployed or hauled, no landings are made and vessel activity is declared as ‘CRU – steaming/cruising’ on the electronic logbook.

Time at sea will not count against a vessel’s allocation where it comes to the aid of another vessel in need of emergency assistance or because it is transporting an injured person for emergency medical aid. You must advise your port of administration in such cases.

Source: Marine Management Organisation

Brian J McMullin Solicitors
MMG Welding Killybegs

MMO has updated details on Western Waters crab management

by editor time to read: 7 min