Fisheries minister Edwin Poots has announced additional measures to protect brown crab stocks in Northern Ireland.
Amendments to legislation have been made to provide for an increase in the minimum landing size of brown crab from 140mm to 150mm, and to ban the retention onboard and landing of detached crab claws.
Minister Poots said: “I have listened to concerns from the catching sector and the scientific advice on the state of the brown crab stock, and am introducing further measures to secure the long-term sustainability of this fishery for future generations.
“In terms of economic value, the edible brown crab fishery is the most important in Northern Ireland for our inshore fleet. Increasing the minimum landing size will allow crabs a further season to reproduce before they can be caught.
“The complete ban on landing detached crab claws closes a loophole whereby the unscrupulous were able to take advantage of allowances to land claws that had accidentally broken off.”