Kommande MSC-märkning av räkfisket i Skagerak och Norska rännan

MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) har publicerat sin rapport om det svenska räkfisket i Skagerak och Nordsjön. Räkfisket kommer med stor sannolikt att få MSC-märkning inom kort, men på vissa villkor eftersom certifieringen riktar kritik mot vissa delar av det svenska räkfisket:

  • No well-defined harvest control rules (HCRs) are in place which stipulate what management action will be invoked if the stock biomass declines to levels close to limit reference points.
  • Insufficient data continue to be collected to detect any increase in risk to main bycatch species.
  • Current regulations are not sufficient to provide a high likelihood that the fishery will not cause serious harm to coral gardens and deep sea sponge aggregations.
  • There is insufficient basis for confidence that the strategy for the protection of habitats is achieving its objectives
  • There is no mechanism for recording interactions between VME habitats and fishing gear
  • High grading of smaller low value shrimp takes place on a systematic basis

Med andra ord tycker certifieringsföretaget att svenskt räkfiske ska få MSC-märkning trots olagliga utkast av räka på ett systematiskt sätt (uppgradering, high-grading) äger rum. Något som konstateras på flera ställen i certifieringsrapporten:

However there may still be discarding of both shrimp and other species when the grid trawl is used. Shrimp may be discarded for two reasons, either because they are shrimps that are less than 15mm carapace length (CL) for which there is no market, or because of “highgrading”, which occurs because the Swedish share of the TAC is limiting within the Swedish fishery and vessels may discard medium-sized or lower value shrimp in order to utilise their quota by landing only larger, high value shrimps. The price obtained for larger shrimps may be 10-15 times the price for smaller shrimps (Mats Ulmestrand, SLU, pers. comm.) which emphasises the incentive to “high-grade”. The practice of high-grading has not been permitted within the Swedish fishery since 2009, but it is recognised by all stakeholders that the practice continues and the regulations are not adequately enforced.

Inte heller anser rapporten att skyddet för ovanliga arter och skyddsvärd bottennatur i Bratten-området, där huvuddelen av räkorna fiskas, är tillräckligt. Anledningen till att fisket ändå kommer att få MSC-märkning är:

  • The EU and Sweden maintain a robust and effective control and surveillance regime, which ensures a high degree of compliance
  • Assessment of stock status is based on a comprehensive range of fishery-dependent and fishery-independent data and is thoroughly peer-reviewed through a joint NAFO/ICES working group
  • The mandatory use of sorting grids is effective in minimizing the by-catch of all species. 
  • The fishery does not cause any (significant) mortality of ETP species e.g. whales, seals or birds and the effects on fish species are likely to be within limits of national and international requirements for protection of ETP species.
  • The Swedish authorities and the European Commission consult with all relevant stakeholder groups regarding new fisheries measures prior to their implementation.

Påståendet om den effektiva kontrollen finner jag stor anledning att ifrågasätta vilket faktiskt också görs i rapporten utan att detta leder till mer än ett krav på att den olagliga uppgraderingen måste upphöra:

Vessels have been inspected at sea by Norwegian, Swedish and Danish coast guards and inspections demonstrate that the fishery generally complies with gear and reporting regulations. Cross checks of fishing activity recorded on the VMS system and ERS and landings data did not identify any cases of systematic non-compliance within the fishery. There are however indications from other sources (observer trips) that high grading takes place in this fishery a practice that is difficult to detect by regular inspections at sea.

Sannolikt skulle ingen MSC-märkning ges om certifieringsföretaget inte uppgav att kontrollen var god.

Tvivlen om skyddet av olika skyddsvärda miljöer på havsbotten och den konstaterade olagliga uppgraderingen som systematiskt förekommer är de stora problemen för det svenska räkfisket och MSC-certifieringen kommer därför med villkor för certifieringen som måsta uppfyllas inom några år för annars förlorar räkfisket sin certifiering igen. De krav som ställs är följande:

By the fourth annual surveillance, well defined harvest control rules (HCRs) shall be implemented for the shrimp stock to ensure that the exploitation rates are reduced as limit reference points are approached. The HCRs should take into account the uncertainties underlying the assessment of stock status and the uncertainties in estimates of discard rates.

By the fourth annual surveillance, provide evidence that observer sampling has been carried out on an annual basis in both the Skagerrak/Kattegat and the Norwegian Deep for both the trawl with grid and the trawl with grid and tunnel.

By the third annual surveillance, full protection for coral gardens and deep sea sponge aggregations should be in place through legislation, such that in conjunction with other measures it can be concluded that the shrimp fishery is highly unlikely to reduce coral gardens and deep sea sponge aggregations to a point where there would be serious or irreversible harm.

By the third annual surveillance, specific management measures which minimize the impact of fishing activities on habitat within designated protected areas should be implemented.

By the fourth annual surveillance, ensure that information on interactions of fishing operations with VME habitats is collected on a continuous basis, and where necessary appropriate management responses are implemented in conjunction with relevant authorities.

By the first annual surveillance audit measures to stop the discarding of smaller shrimps should be implemented. At the second surveillance audit evidence should be provided that the MCS system has an ability to detect non-compliance and that there is no systematic discarding of smaller shrimp.

Redan nästa år måste det alltså finnas bevis på att den olagliga uppgraderingen av fångsten upphört.

Så länge Sverige har för många båtar i förhållande till den kvot som finns kommer räkfisket att dras med lönsamhetsproblem. Det betyder att det blir mycket svårt att få bort den olagliga uppgraderingen inom det svenska räkfisket utan åtgärder som medför en kraftig minskning av antalet fiskebåtar som ägnar sig åt räkfiske. Bristande lönsamhet är med all sannolikt huvudorsaken till den olagliga uppgraderingen. Den möjliggör bättre lönsamhet i fisket men är alltså olaglig.

Rapporten konstaterar också att ingen olaglig uppgradering förekommer i Danmarks räkfiske. Det danska räkfisket beräknas få sin MSC-märkning om några månader. Förutom uppgraderingen så lär problemen i det fisket vara exakt desamma som i det svenska räkfisket då det sker på exakt samma platser. Vad det gäller det norska räkfisket så pågår också där en process för att det ska bli MSC-certifierat. Där är problemen sannolikt lite större än i Sverige då ingen har någon som helst koll på om utkast förekommer eller hur stora dessa är enligt vad som sägs i rapporten om det svenska räkfisket:

Observer sampling of total catch composition has been carried out by both Swedish and Danish scientists under the European Commission’s Data Collection Framework (DCF). Discard rates in the Swedish fleet based on observer data were estimated at between 12 and 31% of the total catch in 2008-2013, whereas the discard rate in the Danish fleet was only 2 to 8%. There are no observer data for the Norwegian fleet, so Norwegian discards in the Skagerrak are estimated by applying the Danish discards to landings ratio to Norwegian landings, and in the Norwegian Deep where no observer data are available, discarded shrimp are assumed to be primarily shrimp under 15 mm CL and are estimated from length distributions of the catch.

GG 73 Ingun

GG 73 Ingun, en svensk räktrålare

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