Pembrokeshire Sustainable Shellfish Pilot Initiative
The Pembrokeshire Sustainable Shellfish Pilot Initiative ran from 2016-2017 and tested voluntary measures to try to improve fishing sustainability within the local potting fleet. It aimed 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 pilot allowed fishers to incorporate one or more trials within their fishing practices at no cost and provide feedback.
Outputs from this project included:
- Short taster film
- Final PSSI report
- Biodegradable hooks summary sheet – English / Cymraeg
- Escape hatches summary sheet – English / Cymraeg
- Incorporation of modifications to pots provided under the replacement scheme by Welsh Government.
Gear modifications trialled included:
- 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 included split rings, ghost buster hog rings, nickel-coated steel wire and potato sack wire ties.
- Escape panels (to protect juveniles by allowing them to escape the pot). 43mm x 82mm escape hatches were trialled, some with a degradable “weak link” element to also allow the panel to act as an anti-ghost fishing device. Blank panels were fitted just as an anti-ghost-fish device with a degradable element for those who wanted to retain Velvet Swimming Crabs and/or prawns.
In addition to the gear modifications, fishermen were also encouraged to work with dive group NARC (Neptune’s Army of Rubbish Cleaners) to retrieve lost gear, thereby reducing the potential for ghost fishing.
The initiative was funded by Welsh Government’s Sustainable Development Fund (administered by Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority) with in kind support from 20 individual fishermen and NARC and input from Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum.