Seafish seeking charter vessels for selective gear trials in the Irish Sea –

Seafish seeking charter vessels for selective gear trials in the Irish Sea Published:  23 January, 2012

Seafish, the authority on seafood, is seeking three charter vessels to trial five different highly selective TR2 gears operating on Irish Sea nephrops grounds, out of a port in Northern Ireland.

The trials will take 15 – 20 days and are due to take place between 20 February and 20 April 2012.

This project is being led by Seafish and overseen by a group involving the two Northern Ireland Producer Organisations, scientists from the Agri-food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI), the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) and local net makers. It is being funded by DARD and the European Fisheries Fund.

Seafish is looking for two charters. The first a twin rig vessel using a 3 warp twin rig trawl system, and the second a joint application for two similar single rig vessels with similar fishing capabilities, using similar gear to allow accurate gear performance comparisons.

Mike Montgomerie, Seafish Project Manager said: “Ideally, we are looking for vessels and skippers that have a good working knowledge of the Irish Sea nephrops grounds, and for skippers and crews who have an  interest in discard reduction and are capable and willing to work with us to develop these gears. This is an important project and we hope that vessel owners will want to become involved.”

Paddy Campbell, from DARD, which is jointly funding the project through the EFF emphasised the need for these trials: “A number of selectivity devices have been tested by the Northern Ireland fleet in recent years and significant reductions have been achieved, however the focus this time is on cod. The industry has come up with some promising designs that we want to trial against standard gear and the Swedish Grid.  Whilst the Swedish Grid is accepted by the European Commission as an effective discard reduction method, our aim is to find something just as effective but easier to use in practice, especially for our smaller vessels.”

To apply vessel owners should send full details of the vessel, skipper and crew experience, trawl gear specifications and required daily charter rate (24 hour or 12 hour period depending on vessels normal fishing patterns) in a sealed envelope marked ‘Irish Sea Discard Trials’ to Mike Montgomerie, Seafish, Origin Way, Europarc, Grimsby, DN37 9TZ. The closing date for applications is 10 February 2012. For further information contact Mike Montgomerie on 01472 252327 or 07984 565386, or speak to the local Irish PO.