With a crucial foothold in fishing communities, the Local Focus Groups engage fishermen with the issue of wildlife bycatch, and provide insight to the Regional Working Group around what is practically possible in terms of bycatch monitoring and mitigation for these groups of animals.
Research within the Local Focus Groups is already underway, with members of the Groups meeting regularly, on an ad-hoc basis, to discuss progress. Together, these fishermen, regulators, scientists and local conservation groups that make up our Local Focus Groups are driving industry-dependent research into bycatch reduction.
You can learn more about each of our groups below.
The Spurdog LFG was originally established as the Spurdog Bycatch Management Programme’s Expert Steering Group in 2016, prior to being included in Clean Catch UK. Its members include 13 fishermen from Newlyn and Newquay, Cornwall, who are working alongside Cefas, Defra, MMO, and the Shark Trust to report, manage and land spurdog bycatch. The data collected so far, on-board the fishermen’s demersal netters and trawlers, has delivered the most complete understanding of spurdog bycatch and discard survival in the Celtic Sea to date.
In addition to providing invaluable knowledge about this data-deficient species, the information is also collated and fed back to skippers as a bycatch advisory map, using a near real-time traffic-light system. This can inform fishermen’s decisions, to help reduce spurdog bycatch where possible.
The Cetacean LFG was originally established as the Cetacean Bycatch Regional Focus Group in 2019, prior to becoming part of the Clean Catch programme in 2021. Its members include Cefas, Defra, MMO, Cornwall Wildlife Trust, CIFCA, SMRU, and the CSMA who are working alongside the skippers of nine inshore netters in Mevagissey, Cornwall, to monitor and develop at-sea solutions to reduce cetacean bycatch.
The group’s activities include the development of a self-reporting app for fishermen, providing scientists with key information about cetacean bycatch in the Mevagissey Bay area, and the at-sea trial of pingers and lights to reduce cetacean bycatch, all whilst ‘Fishing As Usual’.
Terms of Reference have been written and agreed to clearly define the role of the Local Focus Group and will be shared in due course.
Reports from the Local Focus Group will be publicly available.