In May 2018 Marine Scotland and the SSPO, working together, introduced voluntary measures for the harvesting of wild wrasse.The joint approach we adopted brought control to the wrasse fishery for the first time and we kept the measures under review. After being in place for nearly two years, Marine Scotland conducted an internal review of the arrangements and we found that most of the controls were working satisfactorily. We also concluded that there was scope to improve the reporting of wrasse fishing activity and a requirement for more formal harvesting measures which would help bring the wrasse fishery more into line with other Scottish fisheries.
The move to mandatory measures was in part to assist with enforcement, providing clear instructions to those involved in the fishery, and partly to help secure better reporting of activity and data from fishermen direct to Marine Scotland.
The fishery has become an important source of income for local fishers, often in very remote parts of the coast and it is a vital source of cleaner fish for the salmon farming industry, allowing them to cut down on the use of chemicals to control lice infestations. However, access to wrasse must also take into account the impact of fishing activity on stocks.
It is therefore important to continue work in partnership with other stakeholders in managing the fishery. The fishery should not be considered in isolation and we have taken views from industry, fishermen, conservation groups and members of the public in drawing our conclusions about the management of wild wrasse harvesting.
Our proposals were put forward in the consultation because we considered them a sensible way forward and the proposals have received strong support, convincing us that our approach is the correct one. It is important to note however that we see this as a first step and that the measures will remain under review and subject to refinement as more evidence, data and technology becomes available.
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