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Shellfish Industry Development Strategy

Progress Report: SAGB Annual Conference

May 2008

Background The Shellfish Industry Development Strategy (SIDS) is a UK industry-led project that aims to develop the UK wild-caught and cultivated shellfish industries in a manner that fully recognises the need for environmental and social sustainability as well as commercial development. SIDS was originally initiated by the UK Government when the Prime Minister s Strategy Unit was tasked by Tony Blair to address the problems faced by the UK fishing industry. The subsequent Strategy Unit report Net Benefits recognised the importance of our shellfish industry and specifically stated that Government should focus on support for the development of the inshore/shellfish industry to take advantage of its large growth opportunities . Accordingly the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) recommended that a strategy for the development of the shellfish industry was essential. In March 2007 high level discussions between Seafish (the UK seafood trade authority) and the Shellfish Association of Great Britain (SAGB) (the national body representing British shellfisheries) resulted in Seafish providing the funding for SAGB to facilitate SIDS. Dr Tom Pickerell took up post in August 07 as SIDS project manager. Programme Management The original Strategy report contained 45 initiatives which needed establishing, mitigating against or addressing. Several initiatives have become redundant (such as powers for SFCs which is being addressed in the UK Marine Bill) and others have arisen since the report was published (i.e. national strategy for scallop dredging). To assist in managing the process each of the initiatives have been categorised under one of three key workstreams (Figure 1): 1. Giving managers the ability to manage appropriately 2. Raising the profile of UK shellfish 3. Security of tenure in the face of other users of the sea. The net result has been a clearer structure to SIDS which has improved the ability to integrate with other ongoing work both internal and outside SAGB. SIDS Projects Annex 1 details the projects that are ongoing in phase 1 of SIDS, and demonstrates how they fit into the workstream structure described above. Many are dependent on Seafish Industry Project funds and are pending initiation following the recent awarding of funds. Progress has been made on a number of projects that have been funded from other sources however. These are discussed below: Giving managers the ability to manage appropriately 1. National Shellfish Resource Group (NSRG) SIDS successfully bid for FIFG funding to carry out a scoping study looking at the feasibility, and the practicalities, of establishing a science advisory group for shellfish managers. Essentially the group will likely consist of shellfish biologists, fishery scientists and other experts (we imagine from CEFAS and academia) which would meet periodically to offer advice to the Sea Fisheries Committees (SFCs) on shellfisheries management. We believe that by integrating existing shellfisheries and environmental expertise in a single body it will be able to assist in coordinating existing technical and scientific expertise; developing appropriate national guidance on stock assessment and management; and establishing best fisheries and environmental practice for shellfish production. The scoping study is currently underway and we are in the process of engaging with the SFCs on their information needs. Drs Colin Bannister & Andy Woolmer are working with SIDS and aim to present findings to the SFC Shellfish Managers meeting in May.

Figure 1: Revised Management Structure for SIDS

3 Key workstreams

SIDS Projects

(Annex 1)

Linkages from Strategy

Original Strategy Issues

Novel Strategy Issues

2. Management Proxies & Biological Reference Points Most UK shellfisheries are currently managed mainly by technical measures and this type of management does not lend itself as readily to the development of flexible harvest control rules. To improve shellfisheries management there is an urgent need to look into metrics relating to the stock and fishery and comparing these to some reference level. SIDS has engaged Mike Smith at CEFAS Lowestoft to examine this issue and to review less formal approaches (e.g. traffic light systems) aimed at achieving the precautionary management of developing fisheries or fisheries with limited assessment data. Essentially, what is the minimum amount of information we need to make a value-judgement on a fishery? The first draft has been completed and we await receipt following internal CEFAS views. 3. Lobster Questionnaire Heavy catches of lobsters were reported from some UK waters in 2007, including higher numbers of small and/or very large lobsters. SIDS developed a questionnaire to capture the geography and scale of this event in more detail, and to find if it was linked to any other obvious factors in the fishery. We received 36 completed questionnaires and are currently analysing the responses. The outcomes will be published in early June. Raising the profile of UK shellfish 4. Investigate & Promote Health Benefits of Shellfish SIDS and Seafish are working closely together to promote the health benefits of eating shellfish. Seafish have secured funding to carry out an orchestrated PR campaign on seafood and in an effort to address the value of shellfish to the UK (48% of value of all seafood landed) have offered to work with SAGB on raising the profile of UK shellfish. The aim is to promote the high omega 3 content of shellfish, and to assist dispelling the myth that shellfish raises cholesterol. Work is ongoing and an email discussion group has been established with retailers, processors, Seafish and SAGB. 5. Update & expand UK shellfish membership of MCS Fishonline list Many conservation organisations advise their members to use the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) Fishonline list when purchasing seafood in order to assist them in making sustainable choices. This list includes 15 UK shellfish species but contains little regionality or differentiation between gear type/cultivation. Many scores are given a precautionary 3 out of 5 through lack of data. SIDS is meeting with the MCS on 29th April to address these issues and discuss how we can expand UK shellfish membership. 6. Shellfish Cultivation & MSC Accreditation The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is the eco-label of choice for many retailers around the world. Unfortunately at present arguably the most sustainable form of shellfish harvesting cultivation is excluded from the scheme as MSC only currently certifies wild-caught fisheries. SIDS is working with the MSC on a project that demonstrates that shellfish cultivation should be viewed as an enhanced fishery rather than aquaculture and therefore should be suitable for certification. The report has been completed and has been presented to the MSC for internal discussion. We hope that the board accepts the findings and empowers shellfish cultivation operations to apply for sustainable certification. 7. National Strategy for Scallop Dredgers In many meetings with stakeholders one of the only concerns about our industry was the environmental damage that scallop dredgers could inflict. SIDS has been liaising with the UK Scallop Association, Seafish and Natural England in order to bring together all stakeholders to discuss scallop dredgers and the reality of the situation. The aim will be to agree an acceptable footprint of dredging that minimises environmental impacts but accepts the need for landing the volumes of scallops required by the supply chain by dredgers. Such an

agreement should provide reassurance to a supply chain that is being increasingly pressurised by campaigners wanting dredging banned. This ambitious task will be addressed through the establishment of a Seafish-led Scallop Dialogue Group to be run on similar lines to their Common Language Group . The inaugural meeting will be held in May. In addition, SIDS will be organising a scallop symposium later this year to tackle the issues raised in the dialogue group. The event will be funded through a grant from the Seafish Industry Project Fund. 8. Seafood Fortnight SIDS has liaised closely with Seafish on the need for a dedicated shellfish week to promote the sector, particularly as Seafood Week has seemed primarily focussed on finfish. In partnership we agreed that we could build on the success of Seafood Week and expand it to a fortnight with the first week concentrating on shellfish and the second week focussed on finfish. The PR campaign on health benefits of shellfish is linked into this endeavour and the campaign will culminate in the launch of the festival. To further promote shellfish the festival is moving from October to early September to tie-in with the start of the native oyster season. 9. MSC Inshore Pilot SIDS is collaborating with the Marine Stewardship Council on a large-scale project to fund the pre-assessment of all fisheries within an SFC district. The aim is to generate a gap-analysis of all the fisheries identifying what needs to be done to get to a sustainable (as defined by MSC) status. This will be able to be utilised by the SFC as a management plan for their fisheries with the option of certified sustainable fisheries within the district. Support for this concept has been wide-ranging and there is interest in Wales for their entire fisheries out to 12nm to be pre-assessed and the results being used to form the implementation plan of the Welsh Fisheries Strategy. Security of tenure in the face of other users of the sea 10. Water Framework Directive (WFD) and Shellfisheries The aim of this project is to identify the potential positive and negative impacts of the WFD on shellfisheries (both wild-caught and farmed). SIDS consultant Dr Jim Andrews is working through the Directive and identifying areas that the industry needs to be aware of in advance of the WFD coming into force in 2011. Already we have determined that there is no mention of any microbacteriological standard in the Directive and this is also concerning CEFAS Weymouth, our National Reference Laboratory, and the Environment Agency. We are awaiting responses from relevant decision-makers asking for clarification on this situation. Dr Andrew s report will develop into a tailored SIDS WFD strategy to ensure benefits are maximised and impacts are minimised, and will act as an agenda for a shellfish industry/decision-maker workshop discussing these issues to be held in the summer. The remaining projects identified in Annex 1 were all dependent on funding from the Seafish Industry Project Funds. SIDS was successful in all bids with the exception of the Bureaucracy of Shellfisheries project, which is now mothballed till Phase 2. Terms of Reference have been drafted for the successful bids, consultants are being approached and the projects will begin in stages throughout 2008. 11. MOU with BWEA over interactions between wind installations and shellfisheries The likely expansion of wind turbines in UK waters will have an impact on areas that are important to shellfisheries unless the British Wind Energy Association is made aware of the sector. It is proposed to agree a memorandum of understanding with BWEA to ensure the shellfish industry is consulted before wind farms are established. We have applied for membership of the Fisheries Liaison with Offshore Wind (FLOW) group at the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and are awaiting their response.

Other Issues 12. Marine Bill The original Strategy Report notes that the modernisation of SFC powers and definition of responsibilities is essential to achieve sustainable stock and environmental management of shellfisheries within all inshore waters. Accordingly, SIDS has a defined work area to formulate a response to the Draft UK Marine Bill consultation to ensure that necessary measures are included. 13. WWF Mollusc Dialogue Group WWF US is currently investigating the development credible, voluntary standards for certifying mollusc aquaculture products by the end of 2008. They have held dialogue meetings across the US with producers, buyers, scientists and others interested in molluscs to discuss standards for an eco-label for oysters, clams, mussels and scallops. Tom Pickerell secured funding from the US based Sustainable Aquaculture Fund and attended the recent Rhode Island meeting. The meeting discussed a framework for developing the criteria, indicators and standards for responsible mollusc farming; essentially looking at developing an aquaculture stewardship council type body. We believe it is imperative that SIDS gets involved in this endeavour, particularly with the ongoing work looking at potentially including shellfish cultivation under the MSC scheme. WWF are looking to hold meetings in Europe later this year and SAGB have offered to host . 14. Gigas project UK Statutory Conservation Agencies (SCAs) have expressed concerns over the potential effects of Pacific oyster (C. gigas) farming on environmentally designated areas; particularly with the reports of colonisation of gigas in coastal areas in Northern France and in the Wadden Sea. Increased summer temperatures over the last 10-12 years have been identified as one of the main factors of this colonisation. To prevent these concerns from constraining existing and proposed Pacific oyster farm developments the Shellfish Association of Great Britain, Seafish and the SCAs have identified the need to develop an industry protocol that can allay fears with respect to any possible environmental impacts of Pacific oysters. The aims are to demonstrate and identify any wild settlement of gigas to date; the extent and regularity of any settlement; and whether there is any relationship to local farming activities. The protocol is likely to adopt some form of adaptive management technique, for example husbandry methods or different levels of monitoring and actions according to the potential risk posed by a particular operation, which is in turn dependent on criteria such as location, size and an area s nature conservation interest. This project will seek to deliver a protocol that is acceptable to all parties. Next Steps The major aim for the next few months is to initiate the remaining projects under Phase 1 now that funding has been secured. These will begin in stages and the outcomes will be used to assist in advocacy; to provide a foundation for further work; and for promotional activities. The work plan for Phase 2 is beginning to be fleshed out, based on the deliverables to date. This, of course, is a work in progress at present.

Annex 1

Key Theme Giving managers the ability to manage shellfisheries appropriately Project Scoping Study for NRSG

To establish basis for a national co-ordinating group for shellfish resource management and environmental best practice

Funding Source

FIFG

Cost (£)

12,000

Consultant

Colin Bannister Andy Woolmer Mike Smith (CEFAS)

Status*

Development of biological parameters/management objectives for shellfish

A review of reference points, harvest controls rules and precautionary approaches to management and how they might be applied to UK shellfisheries. The review will include the evaluation of less formal approaches (e.g. traffic light systems) aimed at achieving the precautionary management of developing fisheries or fisheries with limited assessment data.

MSC South Devon & Channel Shellfishermen s Assoc.

2000 1000

Support proposals in Marine Bill and lobby for detailed provisions

To seek modernisation of SFC powers and definition of responsibilities in order to achieve sustainable stock and environmental management within all inshore waters.

SIDS

N/A

Tom Pickerell

Shellfish Producers Boards scoping study

To establish clear links between shellfish resource managers and the production industry allowing market conditions to be considered and national perspectives to be determined.

Seafish Industry Project Fund Seafish Industry Project Fund

2000

Nick Lake

Development of a shellfish resource permit scheme

To investigate the premise for a permit scheme of management be introduced capable of sustainably managing all sectors (hand harvesting, static gear, mobile gear, cultivation and non-targeted) and their respective impacts on the marine environment. The basis of the management permit scheme is that stock and environmental management data would be collected to advise the stock assessment and sustainability process, which collectively should be used for national considerations (inc. the NSRG).

2000

Nick Lake

Best-practise guide for all decision-makers in the UK inshore sector

To collate examples of best practise SFC bylaws and regulations. Necessary for three reasons: Firstly, the knowledge is leaving the SFC structure with every staff departure. Secondly, the boundaries of the SFC districts are under review by Defra. If boundaries are redrawn there will be a role for an evidence-based summary of SFC byelaws 1 1 to ensure that the best ones are extended and the worse ones are reduced. Finally, the Scottish Government are looking to create Inshore Fisheries Groups . Such a best practise guide could form a valuable tool to prevent unnecessary and restrictive regulations to the industry.

Seafish Industry Project Fund

5000

Jim Andrews Neil Downes

Lobster Questionnaire

Heavy catches of lobsters were reported from some UK waters in 2007, including higher numbers of small and/or very large lobsters. We aim to describe the geography and scale of this event in more detail, and to find if it was linked to any other obvious factors in the fishery, through a questionnaire. It is important to find out, since the general lack of large lobsters is usually attributed to the effects of fishing, whereas the recent observations might tell a different story.

SIDS

N/A

Tom Pickerell

1

In terms of success in meeting the objectives of the regulation

Key Theme

Project Investigate & Promote Health Benefits of Shellfish

The SAGB has been carrying out numerous scientific studies to confirm the health benefits of shellfish; including calculating omega 3 content and debunking the claim that certain shellfish can raise cholesterol. This project involves working with Seafish to generate a co-ordinated PR campaign on the benefits of eating shellfish to link with the 2 a week campaign and culminating at the launch of Seafood Fortnight in September 08.

Funding Source

Seafish SAGB

Cost (£)

N/K

Consultant

Ray Rice Clive Askew

Status*

Marine Conservation Society Fishonline

update & expand UK shellfish membership

SIDS

N/A

Tom Pickerell

Most eNGOs advise their members to look for MSC certified seafood and/or use fish lists such as the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) Fishonline list. This list includes 15 UK shellfish species contains little regionality or differentiation between gear type/cultivation. Many scores are given a precautionary 3 through lack of data. SIDS will work with MCS to address these issues and expand UK shellfish membership.

Assessment of shellfish cultivation ecosystem inputs

MSC does not certify aquaculture, only wild-caught seafood. However, there is a grey area of enhanced fisheries that MSC is considering including. These include cultivated molluscs. This project aims to assess the ecosystem input of such methods to provide evidence for expanding the remit of MSC certification to include shellfish cultivation.

MSC

1000

Sam Wilding

Raising the profile of UK shellfish

MSC Inshore pilot

Working with MSC we aim to pre-assess all fisheries in an SFC district, an a new IFG district in Scotland, to produce a management plan to enable managers to make decisions to achieve sustainable certification of local stocks. Likely tied in with an RDA fishing strategy.

MSC

~500,000

TBC

Analysis of need and strategy for effort cap in brown crabs

The problems with declining brown crab CPUEs are well documented, as are the calls for some means of capping (or reducing) effort. This workstream involves maintaining pressure on decision-makers to address this situation, and providing technical input and industry participation as required.

SIDS

N/A

Tom Pickerell

Responsible Fishing Scheme Expansion

The Seafish Responsible Fishing Scheme (RFS) does not cover non-vessel harvested shellfish. This project aims to develop Good Practise Guides for these operations to sit under the existing RFS framework.

Seafish Industry Project Fund Seafish Industry Project Fund

7000

TBC (likely Seafish inhouse) TBC

National Strategy for Scallop Dredgers

The aim here is to link with the proposed Seafish scallop dialogue group and build on this to hold a symposium to agree an acceptable footprint of scallop dredging in the short- to mid-term between all stakeholders. This should reduce negative media on the sector and reduce impacts on the ecosystem.

9000

UK Market Baseline study (with Yorkshire & Humber Seafood Group)

Y&HSG submitted this project (with SIDS as a project partner) to gain a clearer understanding of the trade (dynqamic of UK species and to better understand the consumer diagnostics of shellfish in the UK.

Seafish Industry Project Fund Seafish Industry Project Fund

37,969

TBC Likely Seafish inhouse) TBC

Identification of market opportunities for volume and niche products

Market development is key to raising the value of the industry. The Bannister Report details the development opportunities for UK shellfish species and concludes all species can increase value and most can increase volume. This project will identify the species or market segments that are priorities for action and subsequently identify specific action points.

2000

Development of web-based films for shellfish selection, preparation and presentation

It has been suggested that one of the reasons why UK shellfish products are not valued highly by the majority of UK consumers is fear of what to do when purchased unprepared. With the popularity of home internet access and advent of easily accessible multi-media opportunities on mobile phones there is the prospect of providing a how to guide to shellfish selection, preparation etc. that can be downloaded free of charge.

Seafish Industry Project Fund

6000

TBC

Seafood Fortnight

We have secured Seafood Week includes shellfish by moving to early September to link up with the Hays Galleria event and piggy-back on the PR from start of native oyster season. Also extended to fortnight with first week to be dedicated to shellfish.

SIDS

N/A

Tom Pickerell

Key Theme

Project 6-12nm Issue

Prepare a strategy for a campaign to press for the extension of national controls to cover all vessels (including foreign vessels with historic rights) in the 0-12nm zone. The campaign will build up to the 2012 CFP review process.

Funding Source

SIDS

Cost (£)

N/A

Consultant

Tom Pickerell

Status*

MOU with BWEA over interactions between wind installations and shellfisheries

The likely expansion of wind turbines in UK waters will have an impact on areas that are important to shellfisheries unless the British Wind Energy Association is made aware of the sector. It is proposed to agree a memorandum of understanding with BWEA to ensure the shellfish industry is consulted before wind farms are established.

SIDS

N/A

Tom Pickerell

WFD & Shellfisheries

To identify and raise awareness of the issues arising from the WFD, and illustrate how these may affect the industry through a series of documented case studies or focussed investigations. Will be used as a tool to assist our lobbying and as an agenda for an industry/decision-maker workshop.

SAGB

4700

Jim Andrews

Water Quality Workshop

It is now possible to distinguish between different sources of sewage pollution in the water column (i.e. human, agricultural and fish/bird etc). This has resulted in great expectations from the industry including calls for the toxin monitoring programme to be re-evaluated and water classification to take into account the type of pollution as well as the volume of pollution in the water column. There is a need to bring all stakeholders together (operators, regulators, scientists) to discuss the implications (if any) of this technology and to determine the correct strategy for utilising this technique in a manner that confirms to existing regulations.

Seafish

N/K

TBC

Security of Tenure

Financial impacts of sporadic pollution events and exceeded discharge agreements on shellfish operations

At present it is difficult challenging the water industry to improve their treatment of waste and to adhere to discharge agreements as they frequently play the cost card. There is an urgent need for the sector to provide a headline figure of the total fiscal impact of pollution events and exceeded discharge agreements on shellfish operations, the downstream human health consequences of polluted shellfish, and the cost to the wider ecosystem. Such a figure will greatly aid advocacy work by looking at the wider picture of pollution impacts rather than just focusing on direct impacts to operations.

Seafish Industry Project Fund

2000

Andy Fitzgerald

Impact of climate change on frequency of sporadic pollution events and exceeded discharge agreements

Linked with the project above, this will provide a multiplier that will illustrate the likely future costs of sporadic pollution events and exceeded discharge agreements.

Seafish Industry Project Fund

2000

Andy Fitzgerald

Development of Marine resource use base for shellfisheries

Marine Spatial Planning is coming and there is a need for shellfisheries and cultivation operations to develop a marine resource use base so that the industry can effectively enter dialogue with other users of the marine environment.

Seafish Industry Project Fund TBC

10,000

Andy Woolmer

Bureaucracy of Shellfisheries

The UK shellfish industry (capture and cultivation) is beset by bureaucracy; some necessary and understandable and some less understandable and questionable. The aim is to demonstrate the administrative burden faced by the operator in three virtual case-studies that highlight the workload and financial cost faced when entering the industry/sector. The results will, for the first time, enable the industry to reveal the full extent of the bureaucracy required by decision-makers in UK shellfisheries and provide evidence to support calls for rationalisation.

4600

* Key:

Completed

Funds in place/project ongoing

Seeking funding/consultant

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