Cod Recovery Plan - Social Aspects - Brussels 7 Oct 2011


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The focus for the project
was an exploration of the social impacts
arising from the Cod Recovery Plan. The
work provided input to the evaluation of
multi-annual plans for Cod in the Irish Sea,
Kattegat, North Sea, Eastern Channel,
and West of Scotland being undertaken
by the Scientific, Technical and Economic
Committee for Fisheries (STECF).

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Cod Recovery Plan - Social Aspects - Brussels 7 Oct 2011

  1. 1. North Sea Cod Recovery Plan – Survey of Fishing Vessels John Powell Countryside and Community Research Institute
  2. 2. Aims of the survey• Describe effects of the Cod Recovery Plan on different fleet sectors• Identify specific measures of the plan that concern the vessel• Consequences for the vessel and business decisions taken by vessel operator• What is expected to happen if the plan does not change
  3. 3. Sample characteristics• 19 useable responses• 27 vessels• Main target species: Cod, Haddock, Whiting, Saithe• Respondents located in Scotland, England, France, Netherlands• Range of fishing areas• Mostly demersal trawlers• Crew size 3 – 14• Most selling at harbourside auction
  4. 4. Changes in activity as a result of the Cod Recovery Plan Changes in activity Number of Vessels Switch gear 4 Switch target species 10 Invest in new gear 2 Spend more time in port 11 Other changes 7 (e.g. More selective in where and when fishing takes place, new nets, changing zones/changing nets, changing fishing areas to avoid Cod)
  5. 5. Cod avoidance measuresMeasure EffectivenessSquare mesh panels – no differenceNew nets – possibly having impact - but also avoiding Cod areasNot targeting cod – you still catch some even if trying to avoidChange zones/areas – Increase expenditure, - more travel time - more time for finding other species - everyone now goes to same zonesCameras – we stay away from areas with lot of cod
  6. 6. Avoidance activities“I have left areaswhere we were “I avoid areasdumping by-catch where we find codincluding cod because I cannotbecause it isimmoral...” afford to buy more quota” “Don’t target cod any more – target whiting – switched gear” “We have relocated where we fish... stocks“I have left productive times we have up to 30% by-prawn areas to avoid catch so dumping hascod” increased”
  7. 7. Impacts of the planImpact of decrease in Impact of effort restrictionsTAC •We have had to buy in days•We must discard •We land somewhere•We cannot keep differentmarketable by-catch •Reduced days – no money to•Loss of revenue as we are be madediscarding •Harder to keep a crew as•We have to fish harder as they need to be paidwe are high grading •Must optimise time at sea –•Have to leave productive take more risksareas because we were •Need to maximise catch eachdumping cod trip •Fearful of seeing cod in our nets
  8. 8. Impacts of the plan Purchase quota from inactive boats (‘slipper skippers’) Diversify to utilise more species TAC Reduced Set too low - crew size Causes discards “We can’t land everythingMore selective on we catch. We are catching Buy days at seawhich days we go to more whiting but also from other boatssea and how far we go dumping more.” More time in portEffort limits Put in more time because more discarding Changed fishing patternHarder to keep crew don’t go as far/avoid Cod areas
  9. 9. Financial impacts of the PlanImpacts on business Numberdecisions of VesselsRecruit crew 7New equipment 7Buy supplies 3Sell your catch 4Think about the future 8Planning fishing activity 3
  10. 10. Perceptions of the impact ofthe plan on Cod StocksItem Yes NoAre there parts of the CRP that have HELPEDRebuild Cod stocks? 7 3Are there parts of the CRP that haveDAMAGED Cod stocks? 10 1Effect on other species 8 2Have the measures under the CRPled you to discard Cod? 14 2Do the measures in the plan cause you todiscard other fish? 9 4
  11. 11. Views of fishersWe need TAC butshould increase quotas Cod stocks are increasingand reduce fleet size Stocks are underestimated We need rules/restrictions Landings/discards You will catch cod data is accurate whether you want You can reduce to or not discards by increasing quota to ‘realistic’ Discarding because high grading – levels quotas so low we are only keeping the best fishFleet is being destroyedby cod recovery plan People don’t want to go into the industry because no long-term plan
  12. 12. Perceived effects if planremains unchanged• Leave the industry• Employ foreign crew• Less profit• It will destroy us• Struggle then give up• Go into prawns or under-10s• Harder to find/keep a crew• Increased stress• Major business threat
  13. 13. Improving the plan• Make the system less complex• Enable sufficient effort related to season and target species• Need to link to markets – increase value• Think in terms of productivity of each fishing trip• A de-commissioning scheme to help fishermen leave• Pay to stay ashore rather than discards (e.g. like set-aside)• Issue each vessel with a realistic quota
  14. 14. Reducing discards • Increase quota but control days at sea • Realist, workable quota • Small quotas cause high grading • Install CCTV systems • Vessel specific TAC – let vessel decide when to fish • Land what you catch • Land what will make boat pay for itself
  15. 15. Overall impacts• Higher costs• Decreasing profit (??)• More days in port• More part-time work • Reluctance to invest – no long term guarantees • Increasing discards • If plan continues unchanged – more business failures