New UK net tagging scheme
Commercial fishermen in England are being encouraged to volunteer for a new net tagging scheme which may reduce the length of inspections.
The scheme, which has been launched by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) in consultation with the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO), also means fishing vessels could avoid having their towed nets measured for up to six months.
Liz Humphreys, director of operations for the MMO, said: “We’ve designed the scheme with feedback from industry and believe it is straight-forward and convenient. I’d encourage people to get in touch with us and find out more about signing up.”
As part of its work in ensuring compliance with fisheries legislation, the MMO contracts the Royal Navy to carry out inspections of fishing vessels while at sea, with nets routinely examined as part of this. Similar inspections are conducted in ports by MMO Marine Officers.
The new scheme, which is open to any UK-registered vessel fishing in English waters or landing into English ports, will provide assurances for Marine Enforcement Officers, and vessel owners, that the nets are the correct mesh size range declared in the logbook.
Nets tagged as part of the scheme will not normally be measured on inspection, either at sea or in port, provided they remain in date or unless a problem is suspected.
To take part in the scheme, a master must arrange with the MMO to allow the net to be measured and tagged in accordance with the programme rules.