Good science is the foundation for successful fisheries management. The CFPO is always looking to collaborate and work with credible science partners to help improve our collective knowledge of single and multi-species fish stock assessments & distributions, the wider marine environment and sustainable harvest strategies.

The CFPO has and will continue to work with organisations such as the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas). This collaborative working relationship helps to strengthen and increase research and data collection capacity. Ultimately both fishermen and scientists have a lot to gain from working together and the CFPO has been at the forefront of driving that relationship.

A good example of this is the Fisheries Science Partnership (FSP). Established in 2003/2004 by the NFFO, Cefas and Defra, the FSP has helped to improve the working relationship between fishermen and scientists.

The CFPO was a pioneer of the FSP and has played an active role within this important partnership to open channels of communication between scientists and the industry, and together we have contributed to many successful projects that help to inform good fisheries management. Some of these projects can be seen below:


© Larry Hartwell

Spurdog are well known to many fishermen and are regularly caught as by-catch by a number of different fishing gears. Its conservation status was of concern to scientists and some eNGOs, leading to the species being given a ‘Total Allowable Catch’ (TAC) of zero tonnes, in an effort to allow stocks to rebuild. As this species is particularly hard to avoid – as spurdog are widely distributed and can gather in large & generally unpredictable aggregations – this has often generated a number of wasteful dead discards.

To help alleviate this pressure on both spurdog and fishermen, the CFPO have been working together with Cefas, Defra, MMO and The Shark Trust for the past eight years to find an alternative management tool to a zero TAC for this species. This collaboration resulted in the introduction of a carefully managed by-catch allowance. This helped to eliminate high levels of dead discarding, reducing fishing mortality and continuing stock recovery, whilst also avoiding a potential ‘choke’ species under the Landing Obligation.

To further this work the CFPO and its members are working collaboratively with Cefas to produce an innovative spurdog by-catch reporting tool.