White Fish: Ireland

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 22nd January 2015.

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Photo of Angela Smith Angela Smith Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recorded number of sea bass were discarded in the (a) Irish and (b) Celtic Sea by Irish vessels in each of the last five years.

Photo of Angela Smith Angela Smith Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recorded number of sea bass was discarded in the (a) Irish and (b) Celtic Sea by UK registered vessels in each of the last five years.

Photo of George Eustice George Eustice The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Under long standing Irish national measures to protect bass stocks their commercial fishing vessels are not permitted to land bass for sale, which means a degree of discarding of bass by-catch from mixed fishing activity will occur. We have no data available to us, however, on the level of such discards by Irish vessels.

For UK vessels we have discard estimates for the last five years combined for the Irish and Celtic Seas. These relate to otter trawlers, netters and beam trawlers, based on the numbers of sampled trips (see table (b)). We do not sample hook and line boats although these report a sizeable fraction of bass landings in these areas, as survival rates for discarded bass from commercial rod-and line or hand-line boats (under 10 metre inshore vessels) are considered potentially relatively high.

(a) Numbers (thousands) and weight (tonnes) landed and discarded for sampled fleets (otter, nets, beam) in Irish and Celtic Seas, raised to fleet landings for each gear, based on at-sea observer sampling by the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas).

Number '000s

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

Mean

Landed

48

36

29

39

30

36

Discarded

8

9

10

10

4

8

% discarded

14

20

25

21

11

18

Tonnes

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

Mean

Landed

107

58

71

94

80

82

Discarded

3

3

4

6

2

3

% discarded

3

5

5

6

2

4

(b) Number of trips sampled, Irish and Celtic Seas

No. trips sampled

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

Total

Beam trawls

1

1

2

Netters

4

4

16

12

10

46

Otter trawls

23

20

21

21

12

97

Grand Total

28

24

38

33

22

145

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