The majority of vessels from the SWFPA operate in mixed whitefish and nephrops fisheries in both inshore and offshore waters and face different challenges to minimise unintended by-catch and discards which have a detrimental effect to the fisheries in which they operate and on the wider ecosystems of the marine environment. In recent years, fishermen have been faced with regulation which limits the quantities of specific species (such as cod, hake and plaice) which are caught along with main target species. During the implementation of the Cod Recovery Plan, SWFPA members were pro-active in developing and adapting gears which demonstrably reduced fishing mortality, thereby allowing sustainable activity to continue on main commercial species. Through collaboration with scientist, gear technologists and other fishing associations, SWFPA remain at the forefront of responding to measures to improve selectivity, particularly in relation to reducing or eliminating catches of juvenile fish. The success of these innovative measures has resulted in greatly reduced “real time closures” which are imposed when catches of young fish exceed a specified threshold.
Most recently, several SWFPA members have brought forward ideas on gear design or adaptation which will be tested with the support of Gear Innovation and Technology Advisory Group (GITAG): https://www.sff.co.uk/gitag/
SWFPA remain committed to reducing unintended catches in the fisheries in which they operate.