Now Faroe Islands announces new fishing curbs – Fishupdate.com

Now Faroe Islands announces new fishing curbs Published:  24 August, 2007

The Faroese Parliament has proposed a 2% reduction in fishing days for all valuable demersal species

THE Faroe Islands has just become the latest Nordic fishing country to introduce new catching curbs on its deep sea trawler fleet from next month.

Although far less severe than Iceland’s 60,000 tonne cod quota reduction, the measures will mean reduced catches and therefore put further upward pressure on prices this winter.

The Faroese Fisheries Minister, Bjørn Kalsø said he has received broad political support for the proposals which come into effect on Septenber 1 and will last for a full 12 months.

The Faroese Parliament has unanimously adopted the proposed two per cent reduction in fishing days for all vessels fishing valuable demersal (groundfish) stocks – mainly cod, haddock and saithe – in the 200 mile Faroese fisheries zone.

There is also thought to be widespread political support for Minister Kalsø’s other plans to extend the existing system of seasonal and area closures, in order to further enhance protection of spawning and juvenile cod. These include the closure of most of the Faroe Bank to fisheries all year to protect its unique cod stock, as well as a further reduction in fishing days of at least 15 per cent in remaining parts of the Faroe Bank.

Seasonal and areas closures, as well as minimum mesh size requirements to prevent catches of undersized fish, and unwanted by-catch in other fisheries, are an integral part of the Faroese management system, which the country says has proved effective in past years.

However, the news is certain to dismay processors on the Humber who see the Faroe Islands as one of their main sources of supply after Iceland. Norway is expected to announce fishing quota cuts later this year, and there is pressure for tough measures in the Baltic Sea, especially in the eastern sector, which is heavily fished for cod and other species.

Mr Kalsø said: “We are using the full range of management tools in our system, in particular to address current concerns about the apparent decline of cod stocks around the Faroes.”

He added: “Our goal is to ensure long-term sustainability in all sectors of our fishing industry. We need to apply our system in a way that keeps all our fish stocks healthy and productive, without compromising the flexibility of the effort system as a whole.”

The demersal fishery in Faroese waters is mixed, targeting a number of species and stocks that occur together in the same ecosystem. The Government says there is broad consensus that an effort–based approach – rather than quotas in tonnage for single species and stocks – is the most responsible and effective approach to managing mixed fisheries in Faroese waters. Vessels are grouped according to size and gear type, and each group is allocated a set number of fishing days per year, which are divided among the boats.

Fishery experts argue strongly that one of the distinct advantages of the system is that it removes the incentive to discard fish. All fish taken under the system is legitimate catch with a market value – something many UK fishermen have called for

Since the Faroese management system was first introduced in 1996, the total number of fishing days has been reduced by over 20 per cent to take account of likely increases in over all fishing efficiency as a result of improvements in vessel and gear technology.

Despite these reductions over time, Minister Kalsø said there was still a need to better define and evaluate fishing efficiency. He is therefore setting up an expert committee to examine in detail what changes in efficiency have taken place in the fisheries since the effort system was first introduced a decade ago.

He maintained: “Fisheries are the very lifeblood of the Faroes. We must therefore constantly work to ensure the right balance between the ecological sustainability of our fisheries resources and the economic sustainability of the industry that relies on them.”

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