New rules for crab and lobster fishing proposed

Lobster and crab pots stacked up at Eyemouth Harbour
Lobster and crab pots stacked up at Eyemouth Harbour

The views of crab and lobster fishermen along the south east Scotland coast are being sought on proposed changes to minimum sizes of shellfish that can be landed.

New managements measures for Scotland’s commercial crab and lobster stocks are the focus of a new consultation launched last week and now Dunbar Fishermen’s Association, which includes crab and lobster fishermen on the East Lothian coast, are seeking the views of their members.

The proposals include increasing the minimum sizes at which crabs and lobsters can be landed, alongside a number of additional measures designed to conserve these valuable shellfish stocks.

The consultation is now open for 12 weeks and closes to responses on Friday, May 20.

It proposes: increasing the minimum landing size for brown crab to 150mm carapace width and for velvet crab to 70mm carapace width; prohibiting the landing of berried (egg bearing) velvet crab; increasing the minimum landing size for lobster to 90mm carapace length; decreasing the maximum landing size for female lobster to 145mm carapace length; introducing a maximum landing size for male lobster of 145mm carapace length; prohibiting the landing of ‘crippled’ lobsters.

Fisheries Secretary, Richard Lochhead said: “The brown crab, velvet crab and lobster fisheries are highly important to many of Scotland’s coastal communities, with landings worth £32 million being recorded in 2014.

“However, the most recent scientific assessments show that some of these stocks are being fished above recommended levels. To ensure that our inshore fisheries are sustainably and effectively managed we are consulting on new measures for shellfish.

“I encourage anyone with an interest in fisheries management in Scotland to respond to the consultation and give us their views.”

For consultation document go to: https://consult.scotland.gov.uk/…/crab-lobster-landing-con…/