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Fishing mortality – the proportion of fish removed from the stock due to fishing activities – is decreasing, while the proportion of fish stocks being caught at sustainable levels is increasing.

Many of Europe’s most popular commercial fish species, including herring, common sole, cod and horse mackerel, are now caught at sustainable levels in several areas.

European fishermen have employed numerous measures to achieve greater sustainability in the sector over the past 10 years.

There has been widespread cooperation between fishermen and scientists in an effort to both track stock trends and enhance fishing practices.

In addition, fishermen have committed to using more selective fishing methods and equipment, including introducing nets with a larger mesh size, allowing juveniles to escape, and sophisticated tracking technology to ensure only the desired fish are caught.

Javier Garat, president of Europêche, the trade body that represents 80,000 fishermen and 45,000 vessels across Europe, said: ‘These figures are testament to the hard work of fishermen across Europe who have shown real determination to fish in a more responsible and sustainable manner.

‘To consistently improve the number of fisheries at maximum sustainable yield is an enormous success.

‘While environmental sustainability is a key priority for us, it doesn’t necessarily have to come at the detriment of the two other sustainability pillars – the continuing economic and social wellbeing of the industry.’

The UK is represented within Europeche by two organisations, the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO) and the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF).

The UK contributes 11,277 fishermen and 6,415 vessels to the EU fleet and catches just under 600,000 tonnes of fish a year, around 12 per cent of the combined EU total.

Barrie Deas of the NFFO said: ‘This latest data shows exactly how these three key aims of sustainability can be achieved hand-in-hand and the fact that the efforts of our fishermen have had such a positive effect in a relatively short space of time proves how their commitment is paying off.’

With the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy in 2014, these figures are expected to increase further, in particular with the new landing obligations and multiannual management plans.

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European stocks eighteen times more sustainable

THERE has been an eighteen-fold increase in north-east Atlantic commercial stocks now fished at sustainable levels compared to 12 years ago, new scientific data has revealed.

The EU figures show that 36 stocks are now fished at maximum sustainable yield (MSY) levels – a key indicator of the sustainability of a particular fishery. This is compared to 27 fisheries at MSY in 2014 and just two in 2003.

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Search is on for best fish and chips

THE National Fish & Chip Awards 2016, organised by SEAFISH, were launched today, marking the start of the nine-month trawl of the UK’s best chippies.

Now in their 28th year, the awards are recognised as one of the most prominent and respected seafood industry events in the UK, aptly known as the frying Oscars.

Celebrating the great British tradition of fish and chips, they showcase the best talent, quality and choice offered by fish and chip businesses across the UK.

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UK Young Seafood Chef of the Year 2015 cooks off in style

The Northern regional heat of the 19th UK Young Seafood Chef of the Year took place on Friday 6th March 2015, with student chefs from across Scotland and northern England taking part.

The opening heat of the 2015 competition was held at New Lanarkshire College, Motherwell, Scotland.  Each team of two young chefs had to prepare and present three appetising dishes comprising a starter course using salmon and/or haddock fillets, an intermediate course using whole sea bass and/or mackerel and a main course using cod and/or pollack fillets.

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CATCH OF THE DAY

A TWITTER campaign urging consumers to be more adventurous in their fish consumption has been backed by rising culinary star John Whaite, winner of the Great British Bake Off.

The campaign dubbed #CatchOfTheDay is being run by the National Federation of Fishermen's Organisation (NFFO) and aims to champion the diversity of the UK fishing fleet and encourage consumers to venture beyond the seafood staples of cod, haddock and salmon.

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