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Rays and Skates – Interreg SUMARiS project

interreg

Kent & Essex IFCA are pleased to be part of the European project INTERREG 2 Seas SUMARiS (Sustainable Management of Rays and Skates).

The SUMARiS project aims to put together the necessary knowledge and evidence in order to implement a species specific cross-border management strategy for rays and skates fishery in the English Channel and the North Sea, in particular by setting up common and cross-border management.

A large majority of fishermen operating in these areas have artisanal fishery vessels (8 to 25 m.), targeting a large composition of species, most of which are managed with a European Total Admissible Catch (TAC). The TAC for rays and skates pools together several species of different conservation and exploitation status, which is poorly supported by fisheries and scientific evidence. SUMARiS will impact the management of rays, to make it more species-specific, economically-efficient and socially acceptable for the fishing industry while protecting the less-known species. Rays will also be subject to Landing Obligation (LO) requirements from 2019 onwards. The project will anticipate the rays’ LO, by encouraging fishermen to adapt their fishing strategies, so to avoid discards and/or release rays alive at sea.

By gathering the existing data and completing it, the fisheries’ professional and scientific partners from the three participating countries will be able to adopt an evidence-based joint management strategy, protecting less-known species and allowing economic balance for sustainable fishery activities. This up-to-date knowledge about the rays and skates stocks will allow all partners to monitor the exploited zones in an appropriate way. The survivability exemption and the ability to handle correctly rays on board will allow fishermen to release rays alive back at sea.

The project is being conducted by different member states (the UK, Netherlands, Belgium and France) in partnership with producer organisations (FROM Nord, Rederscentrale), scientific organisations (Institut Français de Recherche pour l’Exploitation de la Mer – IFREMER and Instituut voor Landbouw- en Visserijonderzoek – ILVO), Nausicaa, the French National Sea Centre and associated partners (VisNed, the AQUIMER Hub and CEFAS).