sea sharing measure temporary stay outside baselines

Cod fishing vessels over 21-metres must stay outside baselines finds first part of the sea sharing and fishing for coastal cod consultation. Photo: Emil Storøy

The first part of the consultation process on sea sharing and fishing for coastal cod has now been completed, and the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries essentially maintains the proposal that fishing fleets over 21 metres must fish outside the baselines. The proposal also includes fishing for haddock and saithe.

The first part of the consultation on coastal cod and sea sharing in cod fishing north of 62°N has been completed, and the Directorate of Fisheries has forwarded the Directorate’s assessments of the consultation’s proposals and the consultation bodies’ input for further processing in the Ministry of Trade and Fisheries.

This section dealt with area restrictions for vessels of 21 m or more and permitted rope length in seine-net fishing.

“The proposal that vessels over 21 metres must fish outside the baselines is maintained. This has the greatest significance for fishing for cod in the Vestfjorden. Here, the effect on coastal cod is considered the strongest, even though the total catch of coastal cod is relatively limited,” says fisheries director Frank Bakke-Jensen.

It will also have the strongest negative impact on the fishing fleet in question, as a relatively significant part of the fishing fleet will be excluded from the Vestfjorden. For the other areas, both the effect on the coastal cod catches and the fleet is assessed as relatively small.

Also includes haddock and saithe

Several of the consultation bodies support the proposals in the consultation document, which are only aimed at cod fishing, but in the majority of consultation inputs it is expressed that any changes to the regulatory scheme should also include haddock and saithe. Based on the input, the Directorate of Fisheries also proposes that the baseline restriction apply to fishing for haddock and saithe.

This is, among other things, justified by the fact that issues of sea sharing are largely about haddock and saithe, and not cod. From the industry, it is pointed out that it is in these fisheries that the problem of sea sharing is of greatest importance.

The Norwegian Fishermen’s Association has come up with an alternative proposal, which is particularly assessed against the proposal in the consultation document.

“It is a difficult and uncertain exercise to assess the consequences for coastal cod taxation, the relevant vessel group and landing pattern. As the basis for the assessments, catch data from electronic catch reporting and the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research’s mapping of the proportion of coastal cod in catches have been used,” says Bakke-Jensen.

Area restrictions for vessels of 28 metres and larger

The proposal that vessels over 28 metres should fish outside four nautical miles of the baselines is also maintained. Despite some uncertainty, the analysis shows that this generally has a significantly greater positive effect for the coastal cod mill, but relatively less in relation to the total extractions. The proposal will also have greater negative consequences for the fleet over 28 metres and for parts of the processing industry. Especially in Eastern Finnmark, this can potentially lead to relatively significant changes in the landing pattern.

“The proposal is based on a strong emphasis on the need for a strengthened coastal cod mill. A different emphasis on the considerations can lead to different conclusions, and the two-mile route is presented as a possible alternative from Sørøya and eastwards,” says Bakke-Jensen.

Also, for vessels over 28 metres, it is recommended to use the area restrictions from the Norwegian Fishermen’s Association’s proposal for the conventional haddock and saithe fishing. This has a limited effect on coastal cod but will probably reduce competition from the larger vessels on several important fishing grounds.

Limitations on rope length on board when fishing with seine-nets

Within the 4-mile line, it is not permitted to use seine-nets with more than 2,000 metres of rope length (9 coils of 220 metres). Several coastal vessels have the capacity to use longer rope lengths than this, and if they operate within the 4-mile limit, they may have more rope on their drums than they can legally deploy. Based on the control challenges with the proposals that allow longer rope length on the drums, it is recommended that additional rope length must be stowed away during fishing within four north miles of the baseline.

Source: Press Release

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