Quotas for Cameras?

Big Brother arrives to Fishing Fleet?

While this time of the year is dominated by the discussions in Brussels, the emphasis being on what is the outcome for each and every Fisherman next year. The headline usually focuses on what the cuts are in relation to species.

While the big headlines this year related to the dispute between Norway and the EU in respect of mackerel, there were good news stories in respect of monk and the rollover of the 2009 quota for cod in 2010.


One of the big issues that have been identified in the preliminary reviews of the Common Fisheries Policy is the question of discards at sea.

It is not only an attempt to try and actually get a hold on the issue but also a question of trying to monitor the amount of fish which ends up being thrown overboard. At the moment, there is no obligation to record in any log book, both manually or the upcoming electronic logbook, the amount of discards that are going into the sea.

Long Campaign

Indeed, for many years it has been the bug bear of nearly all Fishermen in every Member State that perfectly good fish have to be thrown away or face crippling sanctions.

Some environmental groups believe that the quantity is vastly greater than that being landed. Indeed, it has been a common complaint over the years from various fishing groups that this is the case.

CCTV Cameras

As one of the steps being promoted over the summer months and indeed into Autumn was the installation and introduction of CCTV to be fitted on fishing vessels as part of a continued crack down on dwindling fish stocks.

It is quite clear that the question of discards is as a direct result of the Common Fisheries Policy itself and the quota restrictions that are put in place.

Unlike other countries, Ireland has a month by month quota which can exacerbate the problem as Irish Fishermen face 12 quota deadlines each year.

As a consequence of the discussions in Brussels, a most innovative approach has been taken to try and encourage masters and owners to engage with the pilot project of having CCTV cameras placed on fishing vessels.

Effectively, those who accept the cameras and the suggestion is that it would be three per vessel, can add 5% to the quota that they hold as a result of the negotiations. The proposal was made by Germany, U.K. and Denmark.

In 2008, Denmark rolled out a pilot project for its fleet.

Earlier this year, several Scottish fishing vessels had volunteered to have cameras installed as part of the Scottish government’s £100,000 pilot scheme.

What is not clear is what Fisherman will think of this proposal and whether or not it will have the desired effect of a mass take up?

For More information contact Dermot Conway on 021 4901000 or dermot@conways.ie

Conways Solicitors