Wrasse play an important role in controlling lice in salmon farms. Cleaner fish including lumpfish and wrasse have been in use within aquaculture for many years. The use of wrasse helps to keep farmed species such as salmon free from sea lice and helps minimise the use of chemical treatments. However it is equally important to have confidence that wild caught wrasse are being fished sustainably, with effective management in place.
Firstly, all sea fishing licences issued by the Scottish Ministers have been varied by the addition of a new licence condition which closes the wrasse fishery to all licence holders unless they have been issued with a Letter of Derogation.
Secondly, where a Letter of Derogation is issued, permission to harvest wild wrasse from 1 May to 30 November 2021 is given and certain additional licence conditions related to the harvesting of wild wrasse are attached to the licence holder’s licence.
The licence conditions help ensure various key aims of the scheme including that wrasse fishers provide more comprehensive information about wrasse harvesting activity directly to Marine Scotland, the ability to supplement this information by appropriate electronic tracking and remote electronic monitoring (REM) of participating vessels and a requirement that participants in the scheme accept on-board observers if requested. Over time this will help improve our knowledge base and science-informed fisheries management.
To obtain a Letter of Derogation, fishers need to submit an application form to Marine Scotland demonstrate that they meet certain eligibility criteria and agree to continue to meet those eligibility criteria on an ongoing basis, otherwise their Letter of Derogation may be withdrawn.
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