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Response to the call from WWF to install on-board cameras to reduce bycatch

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Plastic marine pollution. Seal caught in tangled nylon fishing net. This curious wild animal was attracted to the rope and net and enjoyed playing with it but did come into difficulty as it wrapped around the body.

Today there is coverage in the Daily Mail, i, Daily Telegraph, Yorkshire Post and Sky News online of a report issued yesterday by WWF calling for the government to install Remote Electronic Monitoring devices on all UK fishing vessels, in an attempt to reduce the number of animals inadvertently trapped in fishing nets as part of what is known as fishing bycatch.

The UK is a global leader in marine protection, and the Fisheries Bill will soon set out policies to minimise by-catch and, where possible, eliminate it. Defra is also due to publish a UK Cetacean Bycatch Plan of Action early next year. This initiative will outline the actions that will be taken to tackle cetacean bycatch in UK waters.

Now that the UK has left the EU, the government is also seeking to utilise the latest technology to better support the industry improve the management of our fisheries, and ensure the UK has a thriving and environmentally sustainable fishing sector. That is why Defra has last month launched a call for evidence to examine whether monitoring technology could be used more widely on fishing boats operating in English waters.

While the technology is already being used on a voluntary basis by some fishing vessels, the call for evidence seeks views on expanding its use in English waters.

The Government remains committed to monitoring and enforcing our fisheries so that we can manage them sustainably. And, as part of this, we continue to explore the potential uses of REM alongside other tools.

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  1. Comment by William Hughes-Games posted on

    On Board Cameras is a pretty obvious and much needed move but hardly a game changer. Much more is needed.