New measures on unlicensed fishing

New measures have been introduced this week to protect stocks.

Measures to protect the sustainability of shellfish stocks have come into effect this week, with fishermen without a licence being restricted to a daily limit on a number of shellfish species.

The restrictions are:
• One lobster.
• 10 nephrops (Norway Lobster or prawns).
• 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.”

He added: “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 following a consultation on the long-standing issue of unlicensed fishermen sell their catch under the guise of conducting a hobby.

According to the Scottish Government, 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.