The scheme has been developed between the department and the main fisheries organisations and is designed to help fishermen transition to fishing gear which help the phasing out of discards at sea.
The first phase of the scheme will operate for the period from September to November 2017 and will require operators to use exclusively fishing gear which has been approved by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) as more effective in releasing small prawns and small and/or quota limited whitefish such as cod, whiting, haddock and black sole. The vessels that come within the scheme will have access to an additional 20% of prawn quota.
“This scheme will help fishermen to catch marketable fish and avoid small and unwanted catches,” said Minister Creed. “Our fishing fleet is going through a period of massive change as we phase out the unacceptable practice of discarding fish at sea.
“The intention of the scheme is to promote the use of fishing gears that have demonstrated that they allow the escape of juvenile fish. The new gears have been developed by BIM and have been tested by BIM with fishing vessels.
“These gears have been found to be significantly more effective at letting small fish escape and in certain situations avoiding unwanted catches where quotas are low or the stock needs to be avoided for conservation reasons.”
Minister Creed added: “I am pleased at this progressive initiative from our fishing industry who are engaging fully to find better ways to fish that will support the conservation of fish stocks and the livelihoods of fishing communities around our coast.”
The closing date for receipt of applications for the scheme is Monday 21 August. Further information on the scheme and the application process is available HERE.