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Commercial Fishing


Pollack fishers Compensation Scheme Announced

Pollack fishers Compensation Scheme Announced. Fishers most impacted by restrictions placed on the catching of pollack will be able to take advantage of a new compensation scheme.

The scheme, announced by the Environment Secretary Steve Barclay yesterday (Wednesday 10 April), comes after engagement with industry as to how pollack fishers can be properly supported.

It will see around 50 vessel owners directly compensated for half their income lost due to the bycatch-only pollack fishery. It reflects feedback from industry as to how those fisheries can be supported to diversify and recognises the time that they will need to do so.

It is part of the government’s work to back the British fishers, building a modern and resilient industry underpinned by sustainable fish stocks and a healthy marine environment.

In June 2023, the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) provided advice that, for pollack in Western waters, the Total Allowable Catch for 2024 should be set at zero for the first time to ensure the long-term sustainability of the stock. In annual negotiations with the EU, the UK secured a large bycatch TAC for this stock, with around 200 tonnes for the UK.

Around 50 vessel owners rely on pollack for at least 30% of their fishing income. These are mostly small (10-metre and under) inshore vessels using handlines. The bycatch-only advice means they cannot target pollack in 2024, causing some vessels to cease operations and lose all or some of their income.

Under the compensation scheme set out by the Secretary of State, those who were reliant on pollack for at least 30% of their 2023 income will receive compensation equal to 50% of the total value of pollack landings they made in 2023 in Western Waters (Area 7). Income will be verified using landings data held by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO).

Environment Secretary Steve Barclay said:

“I fully recognise the impact that the bycatch-only advice has had on pollack fishers in the South West and have therefore acted to provide support to those most affected.

“The compensation scheme will support these hardworking fishers and provide them with an opportunity to move away from a reliance on the pollack fishery as we work to further support the recovery of the stock.

“I am committed to backing the British fishing industry, delivering a healthy marine environment and supporting prosperous coastal communities.”

The scheme builds on recently announced measures to help fishers affected by restrictions to pollack fishing for 2024. These are expedited applications for a share of £6 million in grant funding available through the Fisheries and Seafood Scheme, and the opportunity to be paid for participation in a new scientific study to understand more about the stock structure of pollack – as well as selling the pollack that they catch as part of the study.

The scheme will be administered by the MMO, who will get in contact directly with eligible vessel owners over the coming weeks to provide further details on how they can access the compensation.