Between 2015 and 2022 quota for Dover sole (Solea solea) in the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) Area 7.e roughly doubled, leading to increased fishing effort in particular in Lyme Bay. Concerns were raised by stakeholders about the effects of this increased effort on the sole population, the wider marine environment, and local communities. As a result, the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) agreed to undertake a review of the Lyme Bay sole fishery from an environmental, social and economic perspective. This review included analysis of landings and at sea observer data, a consultation and in person workshop with stakeholders to discuss potential new management measures for the fishery.
The MMO have published a Decision Document in response to their consultation on these issues where they agree to undertake the following:
- Create a new vessel licence condition requiring enhanced visibility and identification of passive gear
- Publish a form for reporting lost and found gear that can be used without the need for names in order to improve data on the frequency of these events
- Set a reduced sole catch limit of 200kg for non-sector vessels fishing with scallop dredges in ICES area 7e
- Hold discussions with Producer Organisations about ways members can reduce sole bycatch when fishing with dredges
- Support additional research to understand the potential need, benefits and risks of changes to minimum landing sizes or gear configurations
- Facilitate a meeting for representative industry members to discuss the potential for separating areas of Lyme Bay for use by different fishing methods at different times of the year. It will be hosted by MMO in early 2024. If you would like to be involved in the meeting please email us at email@example.com.
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To read the Decision Document Management Measures for Lyme Bay Sole Fishery click here.