Register of Interest - Self-sampling scheme for small-eyed ray in the western English Channel

13 May 2024


Following recent changes to fishing opportunities, there is now a limited quota for small-eyed ray (RJE) in the western English Channel (ICES Division 7.e) to allow for scientific data collection. The Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) is inviting commercial, inshore fishers to register their interest in participating in a scheme to collect information on the species composition of skates in those inshore areas where small-eyed ray is locally common, and information on the size composition, sex ratio and biology of smalleyed ray. The scheme will be delivered in collaboration between Cefas scientists and inshore commercial fishers from along the coastline of the western English Channel, focusing on the following four areas:

(a) Mounts Bay area (southern part of ICES Rectangle 29E4)
(b) St Austell Bay to Whitsand Bay area (within ICES Rectangle 29E5)
(c) Bigbury Bay to Start Bay area (within ICES Rectangle 29E6)
(d) Lyme Bay area (within ICES Rectangle 30E7)


Inshore fishers with local knowledge of small-eyed ray (and other inshore ray species) will assist in the targeted fishing and sampling of small-eyed ray. Cefas aim to collect information on (1) the species composition (weight by species) of skates and rays on those grounds (latitude, longitude, and depth to be recorded for fishing locations) where small-eyed ray is locally common; (2) the length distribution of small-eyed ray by sex, location and whether they are discarded or retained; (3) information on the catches (landings and discards) and fishing
effort on the trip; and (4) assisting in the provision of biological samples as agreed with Cefas

Fishers would be expected to fish traditional fishing grounds for the species that can be fished within any relevant local byelaws. Sampled fish may, within pre-defined quantities allocated by trip, month and vessel, be landed under dispensation. Any landings of small-eyed ray from the scheme would be counted against quota for skates and rays in the area (SRX/67AKXD).

A short meeting at a mutually convenient place, date and time will allow for relevant training on data collection, and to agree a Detailed Operations Plan with Cefas scientists. Cefas are looking for commercial fishers with a minimum of 3 years’ commercial experience targeting skates and rays in the localised areas of interest. The fishers and vessels must have allocated quota for SRX/67AKXD and must have the flexibility to collect samples across a mutually agreed part of the year. As far as is consistent with meeting the scientific objectives
of the scheme and the vessels meeting the criteria (to be specified in the application pack),

Defra will prefer applications from those inshore vessels most affected by the current restrictions on landing small-eyed ray.

To register your interest, please email as follows by Wednesday 22
May 2024 at 23:00.

I would like to register to receive an application pack for the self-sampling scheme for small-eyed ray in the western English Channel, ICES division 7e. The area I am interested in is: a) Mounts Bay, b) St Austell Bay to Whitsand Bay c) Bigbury Bay to Start Bay or d) Lyme Bay (please select as appropriate).

Only those who register an interest will be provided with an application pack.


  • May 10th – Opening Date to register interest.
  • May 22nd – Closing date to register interest (by 23:00)
  • May 23rd – Application Pack issued to those registered.
  • June 2nd – Closing date for submitting applications (by 23:00)
  • June 17th to 21st – Vessels selected and advised
  • Early July – Scheme to commence (after letters of dispensation issued and Detailed Operations
    Plan agreed)