Norwegian Fishermen’s Association has proposed a shot premium for the culling of seals cull in 2021
The Norwegian Fishermen’s Association has proposed a shot premium in their consultation response on the quota advice for coastal seals in 2021 and has pointed out that the researchers’ observations of coastal seals do not correspond with the fishermen’s.
The researchers recommendation is the removal of a total of 457 coastal seals but the NFA believe there is need for the culling of a much larger number.
“Over several years, the Norwegian Fishermen’s Association has reported a general perception among fishermen on the coast about seal populations that seem more solid than what the research estimates,” says the NFA.
“This is also stated in our consultation response to the changes in the management plans for coastal seals from 20 September 2018.”
In the 2018 consultation, Fiskarlaget pointed out that:
“The Norwegian Fishermen’s Association states that there is a different opinion among fishermen and researchers about how large the population of coastal seals really is. Large numbers of coastal seals clearly create challenges for fishermen, with regard to the predation of fish and the increasing extent of liver worm in the fish. Such a situation occasionally creates major challenges for local fisheries, and there is therefore, in the Fiskarlaget’s assessment, a need for increased culling of coastal seals in some areas.“
The Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries points out the need for both by-catches and observations of seals to be reported and registered.
The NFA says “We answer that it appears to be an appropriate measure to document actual conditions about the occurrence and by-catch of seals that commercial fishermen are good at reporting. At the same time, we emphasize that more frequent counts of coastal harnesses must be introduced along the Norwegian coast.
“We state that the seal creates challenges for the fisheries in the form of bycatch, damage to fishing gear, predation on coastal cod and halibut in the catch.”
The Norwegian Fishermen’s Association’s claim that from their side they have always encouraged fishermen to contribute to the best possible data for management and report on all bycatch.
The Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries does not recommend compensation for the killing of harbour seals in 2021. The NFA believes that consideration should be given to introducing a shot premium, to ensure that as large a share as possible of the quota is taken.
The Association also believes that fishermen need some sort of compensation for the loss of some traditional fisheries.
“The Norwegian Fishermen’s Association points out that it has been many years since the entire capelin quota has been taken on a national basis.
“Due to the major challenges with a lot of coastal seals for fishermen, we believe that this is a situation that must be put in the spotlight and measures to ensure that the Norwegian quotas for coastal seals are taken, must be implemented,” writes the Association.
“The Norwegian Fishermen’s Association is also concerned about and will warn against a change in the management plan before more frequent counts of coastal seals are carried out along the Norwegian coast, and the reporting system for sightings and bycatch has been in place for some time,” they continued.
They concluded by saying, “With regard to regulation of sea lanes and proposals for a zero quota on the Stad-Lofoten section in 2021, we take note of this. At the same time, we request that the stock be closely monitored and that new counts of the stock be made as early as next year.”