One in three small fishing vessels sign up for new catch-recording app

Marine Management Organisation claims that new technology is catching on

Credit: Robert F. Bukaty/AP/Press Association Images

A recently launched app for small fishing vessels to record their catches has already been adopted by about one in three skippers.

Data indicates that there are about 4,100 licensed registered sub-10-metre fishing vessels in the UK. Recent changes to their licence requirements mean that, since last year, these vessels are, for the first time, being asked to record details of their catch at the end of each fishing trip.

Government is encouraging fishers to do so digitally – online or via a specially developed app available on both Android and Apple devices. Catches can also be recorded on a dedicated hotline.

Since beginning a phased rollout began in November, the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) claims its app already has 1,300 registered users among the sub-10-metre fleet. This represents just under a third of the overall total.

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Tom McCormack, chief executive of the MMO, said: “Our aim is to get the information everyone needs about this much-valued sector and to help the fishing industry continue to prosper and be sustainable for the future. We are pleased that so many fishers have registered and are digitally recording their catches – with numbers growing every day. We will continue to support, listen and learn.”

Previously, small commercial fishing operations provided information on sales, rather than catches. According to guidance from the MMO, which is arm’s-length body of the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs, the new licensing requirements will help the organisation ensure sustainability.

“[The changes will] enable MMO to better manage fisheries and provide evidence of sustainable fisheries practice,” it said. “The comprehensive data that catch-recording offers will enable the MMO, for the first time, to have confidence in its assessments of the total volumes and species of fish being taken from English waters by commercial fishermen.”


Sam Trendall

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