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2021 Seafish fleet survey researchers’ diaries: Views from the NI fleet

Seafish fleet researcher Oscar Wilkie studies from Northern Eire

It was a pleasure to spend two weeks conducting the annual fleet survey in Northern Eire. I had some fascinating discussions with skippers and vessel homeowners about the way forward for the trade within the nation. Regardless of the obstacles confronted, it was good to listen to some optimism for the long run.

It was notably gratifying to listen to that, usually, individuals have been very constructive about Seafish’s information assortment, with financial information having beforehand been used to assist elevate prawn costs within the nation. With costs a lot lowered because of the Covid pandemic, I’m hopeful that our information may once more be of worth to the sizable Northern Irish Nephrops fleet.

Most bigger boats in Northern Eire land into Ardglass, Portavogie and Kilkeel. As in many of the UK, a small-scale inshore fleet of potters operates from harbours throughout this coast. It was refreshing to see that Kilkeel nonetheless has a thriving fishing port and that fishing stays vital for the city, with the trade supporting many fishing-related native companies.

Throughout my keep in Kilkeel, a couple of small and medium-sized vessels landed herring, making use of some further quota obtained by the UK’s departure from the European Union. While many facets of this modification have introduced vital challenges for Northern Eire’s trade, further quota has helped to cut back the reliance on a single species for some vessels, including additional potential to generate revenue.

Many inshore potting boat operators across the coast have been very clear about their need for a restrict on the variety of pots a ship may fish. This sentiment is mirrored all through the UK by smaller-scale operators, who’re discovering it tougher to compete 12 months on 12 months as extra gear accumulates on the bottom and fewer areas obtain a seasonal break from fishing.

As with different components of the nation, there was some unease about giant and migratory potting boats fishing inshore waters. With shellfish species unmanaged in most areas, gents’s agreements between native fishers are a great way for communities to guard their useful resource, while making certain there’s a workable revenue for all of the boats within the fleet. One such settlement exists in Portavogie, with resident fishers on the entire respectful of the agreed restrict and hopeful of the measure’s constructive potential for his or her fishery.

Oscar is a fleet researcher with Seafish, engaged on the 2021 fleet survey, which is happening now, with Seafish’s fleet researchers visiting ports and harbours. In case you are completely happy to participate, please electronic mail: fleet. survey@seafish.co.uk along with your title, electronic mail and/or telephone quantity and port of operation.

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