Lesley Griffiths MS, Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales, and Trefnydd
In 2019 I published the ‘Brexit and our Seas’ consultation as the first step in developing a fisheries policy which works for Wales. One of the key issues identified was the need for more modern and flexible management systems to ensure the sustainability of non-quota stocks.
In light of this, in March 2020 I published a consultation on proposals for new whelk management measures including:
- An authorisation scheme for all vessels taking whelks with pots in the Welsh zone,
- An annual limit on the total amount of whelk that can be taken from the Welsh zone,
- A flexible monthly catch limit for each authorised vessel.
The consultation ended on 7 June 2020 and was later extended to 1 November 2020 because of disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic during the original consultation period. In total, 60 responses were received from a range of stakeholders and I am grateful to all those who took the time to respond. There was strong support in favour of the proposed measures in the consultation.
Today I am announcing the coming into force of the Whelk Fishing Permit (Wales) Order 2021. This Order will, for the first time, introduce an adaptive management system for a non-quota stock in Wales to enable more timely interventions in response to changes in stock levels and the environment.
The Order will protect the whelk stock and the wider marine environment in the Welsh zone. As a result, it will ensure the sustainability of the fishery so it continues to provide social and economic benefits to coastal communities in the future. I remain fully committed to introducing similar evidence based flexible management regimes for a range of other stocks to safeguard the marine environment and the fishing industry in Wales.