Tel: 074 9736899 | Mail: editor@marinetimes.ie



European Social Partners in the Sea Fisheries Sector

Europeche, the association of national organisations of the fishing industry in the EU, the European Sea Fisheries Social Dialogue Committee and the International Labour Organisation held a webinar under the banner of ‘European Social Partners in the Sea Fisheries Sector’ on Thursday about the Fishing Convention, considering its value in ensuring effective protection of the rights of fishers at global level. It is an EU Directive detailing working and living conditions for fishermen aboard EU vessels.

H Cor Blonk, Chair of the European Sea Fisheries Social Dialogue Committee, said that the number of signing countries remain insufficient, also at European level: “At present, only 18 countries worldwide have ratified the ILO C188, 7 of which are EU Member States. If we compare this with the equivalent for merchant shipping, we see that 97 countries have ratified the Maritime Labour Convention, including 25 out of the 27 EU Member States. Given the aforementioned, ETF and Europêche believed it is high time to address the practical dimension and challenges on the ratification of the Convention.

Juan Manuel Trujillo, President of the European Transport Workers’ Federation Fisheries Section, said this would “align the legislation on work to a common level and with the EU Directive. Consequently, fishers’ wages and working conditions would be protected.

The webinar was told that EU equivalent law does not cover self-employed fishermen, “given the limited EU competence on this field,” according to th Europeche statement after the event.

Firth of Clyde a ‘key source’ of juvenile whiting, supplying the wider Scottish west coast and Irish Sea fisheries

Scientists have discovered that the Firth of Clyde is an important source of juvenile whiting to the wider Scottish west coast waters, in new research likely to be important for fisheries management.

In a new joint study, between the University of Glasgow and Marine Scotland Science published today in Communications Biology, researchers found that as juvenile whiting grow to become adults some cross the fish stock boundary between the Irish Sea and waters to the west of Scotland. The Firth of Clyde and eastern Irish Sea was shown to be the main source of juvenile whiting for both the Irish Sea and the wider west of Scotland waters.

Whiting from the Firth of Clyde were previously thought to self-recruit, but in this more recent analysis using otolith microchemistry – the study of the concentration of certain elements in the otolith (a structure in the inner ear of fish and other vertebrates) – they have discovered that this area is now a significant source of whiting across the west of Scotland and Irish Sea. Whiting is a small member of the cod family, and commonly caught for consumption in the UK.

The research may be important for fisheries management, as the Irish Sea and the Firth of Clyde are currently assessed as different fish stocks. Researchers also highlight that with so many juvenile whiting originating in the Firth of Clyde nursery before moving to other areas as adults, the juveniles and adults are also likely to face pressures from different fishing fleets.

Dr Neil Burns, who carried out the work at the University of Glasgow and is now a Challenge Research Fellow at Scotland’s Rural College, said: “To properly manage natural resources like fish stocks, it is essential we understand animal movements and the ways they use different parts of the environment. The statistical method we developed here is an exciting leap forward in the study of otolith microchemistry and will help us better understand fish movements”

Dr David Bailey at the University of Glasgow, said: “This new way to link adult fish to specific nursery areas demonstrates how important coastal habitats are, and how the key nursery areas affect adult fish abundances across the whole West Coast."

Dr Peter Wright from Marine Scotland Science said this is an important study in expanding our understanding the connectivity of whiting among stocks that are currently managed separately.”

The paper, ‘Otolith chemoscape analysis in whiting links fishing grounds to nursery areas’ is published in Communications Biology. The work was funded by Scottish Government Clyde 2020 project through Marine Scotland Science.