Sandeel fishing banned for 2023 in UK waters


For the third consecutive year, the UK Government has decided to not allow UK sandeel fishing for 2023 for the benefit of the wider marine ecosystem.

This means that UK fishermen cannot catch or swap any of the pre-agreed quota for sandeel fishing in the North Sea – totalling 5,773 tonnes.

Sandeels are an important forage fish and dietary source for vulnerable seabirds, marine mammals and commercially valuable fish. Industrial fishing of sandeels is shown to have an impact on the health of these other species within the marine ecosystem.

Without effective fisheries management measures, loss of sandeels through commercial fishing could be detrimental to the breeding success and population resilience of certain UK seabirds, including Puffin, Razorbill and Kittiwake.

Sandeels are an important source of food for many breeding seabird species, including Puffin (Carl Bovis).

Fisheries Minister Mark Spencer said: "By not allowing the UK commercial fishing of sandeels, we can better protect and enhance the lives of vulnerable seabirds and marine mammals that play such a crucial part in our marine ecosystems."

The decision on the quota is part of the government's wider efforts to protect sandeels, with a 12-week consultation held earlier this year to seek views on the future management of the fish in English waters of the North Sea. The government response to the consultation will be published in due course.