Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
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UK fishing industry to benefit from cutting-edge technology to help manage fish stocks

Use of cameras, gear sensors and GPS units will help improve the sustainability of UK fish stocks.

The sustainability of UK fish stocks will be better safeguarded through the use of technology to monitor and manage fishing activity in English waters, the government yesterday (13 May) announced.

The technology – known as Remote Electronic Monitoring (REM) – involves using camera, gear sensors and GPS units to make sure that catches are accurately recorded and fish are not unlawfully thrown back into the sea. The data captured will support the fishing industry to manage stocks sustainably and give retailers and consumers greater confidence about the sustainability of our fish.

Volunteers within five priority fisheries will begin to use REM systems from this summer, with their work helping to refine the UK’s monitoring objectives and ensure the technology works for fishers.

Once monitoring objectives have been finalised and the REM systems are demonstrated to be working well, REM systems will become mandatory for all vessels in those fisheries – including non-UK vessels.

The information delivered through REM will support the long-term profitability of the sector and help to build the UK’s food resilience and security.

Fisheries Minister Mark Spencer yesterday said:  

Leaving the EU has given us the opportunity to take a new approach to fisheries management that is in the best interests of the UK fishing industry.

By harnessing this technology, we can sustainably manage our fish stocks, to benefit the industry, future generations, and our marine environment.  

A different approach to managing discards will also be adopted in England, with changes to be made to better account for catches. From 2025, landings and discards will both be counted against quota allocations, and the amount of quota used to cover discards will vary and will depend on the type of vessel and gear types used.

In addition to this, discard reduction schemes will be established to identify ways to reduce unwanted catch in the first instance. Working collaboratively with regulators and the industry, the schemes will identify and resolve barriers to improved gears being used.   

Fishers will start to see both approaches implemented at the start of next year.

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