The Scottish Sea Angling Conservation Network

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Response on Sharks and Rays questions.

At last SOS and SSACN have got confirmation on the news that we have been long waiting for, which confirms the 5% bycatch limit on spurdog will apply to all European waters.

To quote the Scottish Marine Directorate, This willeffectively prevent any EU vessel from pursuing a targeted spurdog fishery In other words Etive, Sunnart and surrounding waters are now safe from the Apollo or any other vessel. It should also stop the capture of common skate as a bycatch.

Although its taken four years, Well done to all those that wrote to their MSP’s and help make this happen. It shows collectively we can make a difference.

Although the Porbeagle measures didn’t go as far as we wanted the MD have stated they will be seeking sharp reductions in future negotiations.

The EU has also recognised the need for a separate management of skate and rays. More needs to be done to help rebuild these populations but things are certainly moving the right way.

Below is the letter we received from the government today.

Dear Mr Burrett


Thank you for your email of 4 December to Richard Lochhead, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment, about the EU Commission’s proposals for sharks and rays in the 2008 TAC and quota regulation. As I work in the Sea Fisheries (Conservation) Division, I have been asked to respond.

The final agreement reached at December Council represents a 25% cut in the TAC for skates and rays with more stringent reporting requirements on species landed, the application of the 5% by-catch provision to spurdog across the North-East Atlantic and the introduction of a porbeagle TAC.

On porbeagle, we had anticipated stronger measures from the Commission and are not convinced that the agreed TAC will result in a reduction in porbeagle catches in 2008 compared to 2007. Nevertheless, the establishment of a TAC is an important first step in limiting effort on this stock and preventing any increase in catches during 2008. In future negotiations we will be seeking sharp reductions in the TAC alongside other measures designed to protect the porbeagle stock.

The outcome on skates and rays is more positive with a 25% cut in the TAC, a continuation of the 25% by-catch limit and stricter reporting requirements. Together these moves represent a continuing effort cut on skate and ray stocks and the first steps towards separate management of different skate and ray species.

Finally, on spurdog the 5% by-catch rule, limiting landings of spurdog to 5% of the total catch, will now be applied across the whole of the North-East Atlantic for all EU vessels, effectively preventing any EU vessel from pursuing a targeted spurdog fishery. I’m sure you will agree this is positive outcome for spurdog.

As you know the EC are to consult on and develop their long-awaited Shark Plan of Action, and have given a target date of December 2008 for its completion. This gives us all an opportunity to examine the existing science and the data requirements for sound management measures in all shark fisheries in which the Community participates. It is clearly important that we keep in mind the international commitments and obligations made by the EU, and the Scottish Government will seek as far as possible to persuade the European Commission to render those commitments into evidence based, robust and enforceable management measures.

I hope you find this response useful.

Yours sincerely


Marine Directorate

Sea Fisheries (Conservation) Division

Related posts:

  1. Mediterranean Sharks and Rays in Danger of Extinction
  2. Letter to Lochhead - Shark,Ray and Skate TACs
  3. Bold EU moves for sharks
  4. Scientific community calls for conservation of Sharks and Rays
  5. Defra propose a non targeted fishery for the Porbeagle

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