A priority for 2014 trials will be to document and monitor total catches across a range of species likely to be subject to a landing obligation in 2016. Catch quotas have demonstrated their effectiveness at reducing discards and encouraging more selective fishing behaviour. However, more needs to be done to better understand the implications of mixed species fisheries, particularly where one or more species appears to act as a 'choke', potentially calling an early halt to a fishery through quota exhaustion before the target species quota has been caught.
Successful vessels will be allocated additional quota for the relevant species subject to the outcome of negotiations at December Council and between the EU and Norway. An exemption from effort or additional kilowatt days will also be considered for applicants operating in the North Sea.
Remote electronic monitoring (REM) equipment, including CCTV, will be used to monitor fishing operations and audit catch documentation. Vessels may occasionally be required to carry MMO observers.
Vessel owners who expect to fish in the North Sea or Western Waters from 1 January to 31 December 2014 can apply. Only English-registered vessels that are members of a producer organisation are eligible.
Applicants are invited to bid for additional quota for the stocks they are interested in. Detailed information on the stocks that may be available is contained in the application pack, which contains details of the project, contract and terms and conditions. Available stocks will be subject to the outcome of December Council but applications may be withdrawn if terms are not agreeable.
The project is expected to start in early February 2014 and will end on 31 December 2014.