Crab and lobster conservation measures

Fisheries Secretary Fergus Ewing.
Fisheries Secretary Fergus Ewing.

Scottish shellfish are to be given additional protection through new conservation measures announced by Fisheries Secretary Fergus Ewing today.

Following a consultation, the Scottish Government will introduce landing controls intended to improve the sustainability and management of Scotland’s crab and lobster fisheries.

The minimum landing sizes for crab and lobster will be increased as follows: brown crab from 130/140mm to 150mm (excluding Shetland); velvet crab from 65mm to 70mm; lobster from 87mm to 90mm on the west coast (excluding Solway Firth).

Additionally, the maximum landing size of female lobster will be decreased to 145mm (excluding Orkney and Shetland), and the landing of berried (egg bearing) velvet crab will be prohibited.

These measures are expected to come into force later in the year.

Commenting on the new measures, Mr Ewing said: “Scottish crab and lobster are an important part of the rural economy, fished by almost 1,400 creel vessels around the coast. Landings were worth £26.8 million to the economy in 2015, helping to support many remote communities.

“These new measures are a forward step in achieving the vision set out in our Inshore Fisheries Strategy and will contribute to developing a more sustainable, profitable and well-managed inshore fisheries sector in Scotland.”