Thanks for the response, folks.
I had anticipated that setting the cut to 'Thick-Slow' would avoid the loose fibres problem (had it worked with canvas), but I have taken your comments on board. Rather do without auto-cut than invite heavy maintenance a few months from now. I also figured that Fine Art Textured paper would be as much a fibre-producer as the canvas, but I guess the cotton behaves differently under a knife-edge.
I also mistakenly thought the manual cutter was only available for the 9800, but it looks the best option now. Presumably, it uses a wheel blade(?) that is available 'off the shelf' (or is that a bit too optimistic?). The Epson UK shop isn't too useful with spares. All being well, once bought, hopefully the manual cutter is alot cheaper to run(?).