Watch the short taster film for the pilot here.
The Pembrokeshire Sustainable Shellfish Pilot Initiative (PSSPI) is testing voluntary measures to try to improve fishing sustainability within the local potting fleet. It aims to encourage fishermen to incorporate one or more trials within their fishing practices. The pilot allows trialling of gear modifications at no cost to fishermen and incorporation of feedback into final outputs that will be shared widely.
Gear modifications being trialled include:
- Anti-ghost-fishing mechanisms (ghost fishing can occur when fishing gear has been lost) incorporating various “weak links” into pot hook set-ups and panels. The weak links currently include split rings, ghost buster hog rings, nickel-coated steel wire and potato sack wire ties. More ideas may be tested as the pilot progresses.
- Escape panels (to protect juveniles by allowing them to escape the pot). 43mm x 82mm escape hatches are being trialled, some with a degradable “weak link” element to also allow the panel to act as an anti-ghost fishing device. Blank panels are being fitted too just as an anti-ghost-fish device with a degradable element for those who want to retain velvets and/or prawns.
- Gear tags (to identify pots in the event that they become lost, enabling them to be easily returned to their rightful owner). These are not connected to effort limitation.
In addition to the gear modifications, fishermen are also working with dive group NARC (Neptune’s Army of Rubbish Cleaners) to retrieve lost gear, thereby reducing the potential for ghost fishing.
The pilot aims to raise awareness and understanding of the environmental and economic issues associated with ghost fishing of static gear, and of voluntary measures to improve fishing sustainability. The initiative seeks to secure environmental improvements that will benefit the Pembrokeshire Marine Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and help to enhance and maintain the living resource found off the Pembrokeshire coast which fishermen depend on to make a living.
The approach fosters close collaboration between fishermen, the Pembrokeshire Marine SAC and the third sector in a common goal to improve the environment and fishing for future generations. To find out more contact the pilot lead, the SAC Officer.
The initiative is funded as a pilot in 2016-2017 by Welsh Government’s Sustainable Development Fund (administered by Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority) with cash and/or in kind support from;
20 individual fishermen.
West Wales Shellfisherman’s Association (WWSFA) Ltd.
Pembrokeshire Marine Special Area of Conservation (SAC) Relevant Authorities Group,
Pembrokeshire Costal Forum,
Neptune’s Army of Rubbish Cleaners
World Animal Protection as members of The Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI).
Natural Resources Wales