English fishers impacted by the recent closure of the UK pollack fisheries will now be eligible for fast tracked financial grants through the re-opened £6m Fisheries and Seafood Scheme (FaSS).

Following EU fishery negotiations, the UK government set the pollack Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for 2024 to zero following concerns about the population stocks, permitting pollack caught as bycatch to be landed. Following advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) in June 2023, the closure impacted not just larger businesses but hand-to-pole line fishers operating under 10 m vessels who targeted pollack.

To mitigate the effects of the new regulations, individuals and businesses that apply to receive a financial grant from FaSS will be fast tracked and processed within four weeks, as opposed the the usual eight.


Image credit: Marine Management Organisation


Fisheries Minister Mark Spencer said:  “We fully recognise the impact that the bycatch-only pollack fishery has had on many fishermen in the South West and today’s measures will provide support to those most affected.

Grant funding will help to support them to diversify and explore other income streams, whilst their participation in a new scientific study will not only provide additional support but help to improve our understanding of the pollack stock as we look to improve its sustainability into the future.”

Science-fishing industry collaboration 

In addition to FaSS support, pollack fishers are being encouraged to collaborate with Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) in a new scientific study. Open to all fishers, the science-fishing industry collaboration will work to increase understanding about the stock structure of pollack in the West region of England.

To participate, the fishers will be allowed to catch pollack for use in the study, recvinign payments for their initial training and participation in the study. Fishers will also be permitted to sell their caught pollock during the study.

Application for participation is currently not open and will be open to those most impacted by the closure.

To improve the longer-term management of pollack, the UK teams will work with the EU via the Specialised Committee on Fisheries (SCF) towards an improved assessment of the stock. The government will continue to work with industry representatives as part of this. This joint work will also help to improve our understanding of the recreational fishery, with a view to the introduction of limits where appropriate and where these are likely to be effective in reducing pressure on the stock.

Read more about the FaSS funding here

Read the Government press release for the pollack fishers here

Read the statement by Defra minister Mark Spencer here

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