New fisheries measures now in effect

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing.
Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing.

Beginning on April 17, fishermen without a licence will be restricted to a daily limit on a number of shellfish species.

Measures to protect the sustainability of shellfish stock have come into effect. The restrictions are: One lobster; 10 Nephrops (Norway Lobster); Five crabs (edible, green, spider and velvet) either of one of the named species or a combination); Five scallops (King, Queen or a combination).

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “The setting of catch limits will make it possible for the Scottish Government to distinguish between those genuinely pursuing a hobby and those catching sufficient quantities to make it a financially viable exercise.

“While I recognise and support the public’s right to fish, this right must be balanced with the management of commercial fishing activity and the sustainability and health of the stock.

“In recent years, fishermen have expressed increasing concern about the health of these fisheries. The commercial fishing sector supports taking action against illegal unlicensed fishing and I hope the proposed catch limits will help tackle this issue.”

The Shellfish (Restrictions on taking by unlicensed Fishing Boats) (Scotland) Order 2017 came into force on April 17, 2017 following a consultation on the long-standing issue of unlicensed fishermen selling their catch under the guise of conducting a hobby.

Marine Scotland compliance officers patrol all inshore waters with Rigid Inflatable Boats (RIBs) and are in close contact with fishermen. Officers also make regular visits to fish buyers to ensure they buy from vessels that are registered and hold a valid UK fishing vessel license.