About the Programme

What is Clean Catch UK?

Clean Catch UK is a collaborative research programme dedicated to better monitoring, reducing, and, where possible, eliminating the accidental capture of wildlife in UK fisheries. This research will be initially focused in the South-west. The programme draws on knowledge from both scientists and fishermen, to record incidences of wildlife bycatch and to develop practical solutions to reduce this bycatch. 

Clean Catch UK supports Defra’s commitments to the Fisheries Act, 25 Year Environment Plan and Marine Strategy Framework Directive, as well as Defra’s Plans of Action to minimise, and where possible, eliminate cetacean and seabird bycatch, through a coordinated, stakeholder-led approach.

Read more about bycatch

Why is the work happening?

In recognition of the urgent need to reduce wildlife bycatch in UK fisheries, groups of scientists, fishermen, regulators and NGOs have come together as part of this focused programme of industry-led research and activity. The work is being led by Defra and will be built around the National Plans of Action.

The challenge is complex, and solutions will be varied, but Clean Catch UK hopes that our rigorous, collaborative efforts in the South-west will contribute to future policy in other UK commercial fisheries. 

About the policy context of this work

Where is the work happening?

The work is happening at three scales – locally, regionally and nationally.

Our ‘Local Focus Group’ in Cornwall is carrying out industry-led studies, to collect information on the bycatch of marine mammals and trial new ways of recording and reducing this bycatch.

Our ‘Regional Working Group’ in the South-west will provide technical oversight of the programme.

Our National Steering Group – made up of specialists from around the UK – provides a broader perspective that ensures our work aligns with national policy objectives and the latest in bycatch research.

Read more about our groups

Who is behind the programme?

This programme is led by Cefas, funded and supported by Defra and championed by the members of our three groups. 

Meet the Clean Catch UK Programme Team