Scottish fisheries secretary Fergus Ewing recently announced the new conservation measures that will give additional protection for brown crab, lobster and velvet crab.
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 145 mm (excluding Orkney and Shetland), and the landing of berried (egg bearing) velvet crab will be prohibited.
The new 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 £26.8m 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.”
Nick Turnbull, secretary of the Mull Fishermen’s Association, said: “We welcome the introduction of these new management measures. Mull fishermen are in agreement in wanting extra protection for our shellfish stocks, and we are confident these measures will help to promote their future health and sustainability.”