The NWWAC has sent its recommendations to DG MARE regarding the whelk fishery in the English Channel
The North Western Waters Advisory Council has sent its recommendations to the Director-General of DG MARE, Charlina Vitcheva regarding the whelk fishery in the English Channel.
The NWWAC Focus Group on Whelk met during October and December 0f 2021 and decided to issue advice on a general frame work for managing the whelk fishery in the Channel (ICES 7d and 7e).
The Focus Group says in the letter to the Director-General that the whelk fishery in the Channel is currently in development and the NWWAC considers that the establishment of a management framework is needed to ensure the conservation of a healthy status of the stock. In EU waters, the fishery is carried out mainly by vessels from three French regions, Normandy, Hauts de France and Brittany, exclusively using pots (FPO) all year round. Pots are usually baited with pieces of shellfish or fish. There are around 260 vessels in the Channel fishing for whelk, mostly under 16 meters, both inside and outside 12 miles. This fishery is subject to specific regulations in each region (licenses, number of traps, spatio-temporal closures, carrying a sorting grid, etc.). In order to be able to decide on an efficient set of measures, the Focus Group collected information on the fishery through a questionnaire which was completed with information on the fishing activities in Normandy, Hauts de France and Brittany.
The NWWAC provided the following recommendations to DG MARE in order to set up a management framework for the whelk fisheries in the Channel:
- Maximum vessels length of 16 meters, except for larger vessels that have been historically fishing for whelk in the area (reference period to be defined);
- Use of pots with sorting grid with a minimum spacing of 22mm;
- Electronic positioning systems (VMS) installed on all vessels;
- These measures should apply to fisheries outside 12-mile area.
The letter states that “The NWWAC believes this set of measures would constitute a good starting point for a better management of the whelk fisheries in the Channel, which could be further improved with the introduction of specific technical measures.”
The NWWAC again offered to contribute to the Specialised Committee on Fisheries saying, “We are conscious that such an EU management framework will be restricted to EU waters, but in order to ensure this initiative covers the requirements of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement, the NWWAC wishes to re-emphasise its willingness to contribute to the work of the Specialised Committee on Fisheries on this topic and other topics in the AC’s remit.”