Marine Scotland is introducing new king scallop landing regulations that will come into effect on Thursday, 1 June, 2017.

A plan to introduce new controls was announced in 2015, but they were delayed because provisions covering remote electronic monitoring (REM) equipment had to be put in place before the legislation comes into force.

The measures are:

MLS increase

The minimum landing size (MLS) of scallops will be increased from 100mm to 105mm around the Scottish coast, excluding:

● the Irish Sea south of 55°N, where the MLS will remain at 110mm
● Shetland, which has distinct management arrangements under the Shetland Regulating Order, where the MLS will remain at 100mm)

Dredge restrictions

Two different management arrangements will be introduced to help control and monitor dredge effort in the 0-12 nautical mile zone:

Arrrangement 1: Tow bar restrictions

To help reduce effort and policing of current restrictions, the following rules will apply inside 12 nautical miles:

● the total length of any tow bar deployed cannot exceed 7.5m
● no more than two tow bars can be deployed at any time
● no more than eight scallop dredges per side (ie no more than 16 in total)

These restrictions will also apply to vessels that wish to fish both inside and outside 12 nautical miles during the same trip.

Arrangemet 2: Remote electronic monitoring

Fishing with 10 dredges per side in the six to 12 nautical mile zone will be permitted only if a vessel has installed remote electronic monitoring (REM) equipment. This equipment will have to be purchased and installed at the vessel owner’s expense. It will be used by Marine Scotland to monitor the number of dredges being used in the different fishing zones within Scottish waters.

Installing REM equipment

Fishermen wishing to continue fishing with 10 dredges per side in the six to 12 nautical mile zone will have to install REM equipment by Thursday, 1 June. This will include a process of verification by Marine Scotland to ensure that the equipment is installed correctly and is fit for purpose.

Fishermen considering this arrangement should contact Marine Scotland as soon as possible to discuss their requirements and ensure that suitable REM equipment is installed in time for the new controls coming into force.

Contact Marine Scotland’s Fully Documented Fisheries (FDF) Unit on 0300 244 9171 or 9184, or by email at FDF@gov.scot

The new management measures are the outcome of a 16-week consultation on management proposals, which took place from 9 October, 2014, to 26 January, 2015.

The overall aim of the proposals was to improve the management of effort in the fishery after an expansion in recent years, and to attempt to increase the spawning stock biomass of the stock.

The Scottish White Fish Producers Association (SWFPA) welcomed the move. Anne-Margaret Anderson, inshore and environmental policy co-ordinator said they would improve sustainability.

She said, “The SWFPA scallop committee, which speaks for the majority of scallop fishermen round our shores, is fully committed to enhancing the conservation status of these stocks, which is why we support these measures.

“The committee has also volunteered to avoid certain areas of known sensitive marine habitats, in recognition of their importance and in line with our consistent approach to achieving a balance between fishing effort and protection of the marine environment.”

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