Deterring illegal sea fishing

Fishing at sea to be more closely monitored
Fishing at sea to be more closely monitored

The Marine Management Organisation has received a £32m financial boost to help ensure that illegal fishing is kept at bay since Brexit.

The money has helped the organisation enhance both surveillance and fisheries control capacity, helped the group hire more staff, increase the number of patrol ships and boosting other means of keeping an eye on the seas including radar, aerial surveillance and electronic monitoring systems.

Michael Coyle, MMO Head of Compliance and Control said:

MMO activity at sea or on shore operates on a risk based, intelligence led approach and matches the seasonal pattern of fishing activity. Levels of activity are usually reduced during the winter months, but we’ve maintained our enforcement presence at sea throughout.

During March, inspections are at a higher level than ever due to the increased capacity we’ve introduced. There have been 41 inspections so far in March; 15 of these were UK vessels and 26 were EU vessels.

The overall intent is to enable fishermen to go about their business while MMO exercises control duties in a proportionate and reasonable way.

The funding has also helped the group carry out more on-the-spot inspections of nets to check the mesh size, whether undersized species are being killed or if ships are moving undeclared catch on land. Thanks to the UK-EU Trade Cooperation Agreement, this is not only for British fishermen but also for those fishing in our seas from Europe.

The group aim to start posting more data about their findings and enforcement activity making it clear that fishing in the United Kingdom’s waters needs to be legal and sustainable.

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