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Cutting edge technology coming to fishing industry

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The UK government has announced a new initiative to enhance the sustainability of fish stocks through the implementation of Remote Electronic Monitoring (REM) technology in English waters. This technology includes cameras, gear sensors, and GPS units to ensure accurate recording of catches and prevent unlawful discarding of fish. The data collected will help manage fish stocks sustainably and increase confidence in the sustainability of UK fish among retailers and consumers.

Starting this summer, volunteers from five priority fisheries will begin using REM systems. Their feedback will refine the UK’s monitoring objectives and ensure the technology is effective for fishers. Once these objectives are met and the technology is proven effective, REM systems will become mandatory for all vessels in those fisheries, including non-UK vessels.

The use of REM is expected to support the long-term profitability of the fishing industry and enhance the UK’s food resilience and security. Fisheries Minister Mark Spencer highlighted that leaving the EU has provided an opportunity to adopt a new fisheries management approach that benefits the UK fishing industry, future generations, and the marine environment.

Additionally, a new approach to managing discards will be implemented in England. From 2025, both landings and discards will be counted against quota allocations, with the quota used to cover discards varying based on vessel and gear types. Discard reduction schemes will be established to minimize unwanted catch, working collaboratively with regulators and the industry to overcome barriers to using improved gear.

For clients in the fishing industry, this initiative offers several benefits. It promotes sustainable fishing practices, ensuring long-term profitability and market confidence in sustainably sourced fish. The new monitoring and discard management approaches can lead to more efficient quota usage and reduced waste, further supporting the industry’s economic viability and environmental responsibility.

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