New working groups focus on UK shellfish

Shellfish is the UK’s most valuable seafood product Shellfish is the UK’s most valuable seafood product

Three new groups have been formed to provide a forum for industry, regulators and researchers to improve the management of shellfish fisheries around the UK.

The Shellfish Industry Advisory Group (SIAG) is focused on the strategic issues and is covering trade issues, competition for marine space and the management measures that need to be in place to ensure the sustainable management of individual species.

A key priority for the SIAG is the development of a National Shellfish Fisheries Plan. Barrie Deas, chief executive of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations and chair of the SIAG, said that shellfish was the UKs most valuable fishery. “In 2019 over 137,000 tonnes of shellfish were landed in the UK, at a value of over £370 million,” he said.

“The Shellfish Industry Advisory Group will look to tackle the challenges of managing these commercially important fisheries in a sustainable way. Our next step will be the development a National Shellfish Plan to establish a set of strategic objectives that will drive the management of all shellfish fisheries going forward,” he added.

As well as the SIAG, two sub-groups have been created to focus on specific species, namely the Whelk Management Group (WMG) and Crab and Lobster Management Group (CMG), both focused on long-term sustainability of the species achieved by data collection and research programmes.

The SIAG, WMG, and CMG meet on a quarterly basis with the next meetings to be held in early 2021.

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