The dispute between the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) and fishermen of under 10 metre vessels in England and Wales is growing as demand to scrap the CatchApp grows.

This comes as the Coastal Producers Organisation (Coastal PO) has become excluded from the list of producers organisations whose members do not have to use the app.

The ‘Scrap the App’ by the Under Ten Fishermen’s Association (UTFA) campaign wants to see the MMO remove the necessity for U10m fishing boats to use the current CatchApp and replace it with a more suitable alternative.

A report revealed this week the MMO is reported to have said that Under 10’s “represents a real threat to UK fisheries sustainability and there is significant evidence of unlicensed and unsustainable fishing in the more active groups. However, the U10m industry as a whole tends to be poor older, economically marginalised, often limited in education with reports of high rates of depression and suicide.”

This has been heavily criticised by Jeremy Percy, the Chief Executive of the UTFA who said “I am genuinely second by these obscene comments revealing the true nature of MMO officials, especially those at higher levels responsible for enforcement. If they have “significant evidence” then why are they not prosecuting? They should be ashamed.

“I’m not surprised our guys are depressed especially now they know what officials are responsible for monitoring and enforcement really think about them!” 

The report goes on to say that “rule beaters consistently seek to evade regulation. They choose to be U10m vessel owners in order to avoid recording catch and will often chop off the front of the vessels to fit that vessel length. They are often unpopular with the rest of the fishing community (the term “fish for greed, not for need” is used nation-wide). They are successful, technically capable fishes with a range of equipment on the vessels.”

The term ‘rule beater’ has been called derogatory and abhorrent by some U10 fishermen who feel that the MMO is trying to force them out of business.

Meanwhile, the Coastal PO has advised it’s members to use the CatchApp after the MMO removed them from the list of authorised PO’s whose members were excluded from using the CatchApp. 

The MMO noted on their site the reason why the Coastal PO was excluded as being “owing to the fact that they do not currently have delegated quota management responsibilities on behalf of their members.”

Author: Oliver McBride

‘Scrap the App’ campaign grows as dispute with MMO deepens

by editor time to read: 7 min