Electrofishing in Scotland: consultation

Consultation on whether regulated electrofishing for razor clams should be permitted in Scottish sea fisheries.

Explanatory note about the consultation

What are we consulting about?

The purpose of this consultation is to seek the views of all interested parties and ask them to consider whether the Scottish Government should allow for a regulated razor clam fishery, prosecuted by the use of electricity in a pre-defined manner.

Why are the changes proposed?

Based on our current understanding of the consequences of electrofishing we consider it is appropriate now to consider propose amendment of legislation, while also working to establish and understand the stock and environmental data required to develop a properly-managed fishery.

Who might be affected by these proposals?

The inshore fish catching sector operating in Scotland, onshore processors and exporters and agencies involved in diving and vessel safety. In addition, persons living adjacent to sea areas where such fishing may be conducted or persons also undertaking other activities in such waters. Environmental organisations will have an interest.

How will the proposals be taken forward?

The views provided in the consultation responses will be analysed and used as part of the decision making process. Final decisions on the issues under consideration will also take account of a range of factors, including any other available information and research evidence.

By when are comments requested?

The Scottish Government generally allows 12 weeks for consultations. However, this consultation is concerned with a specific and limited issue about whether to permit fishing for razor clams utilising electricity at levels set by research. The written consultation also follows prior face-to-face consultation with interested parties. In view of the restricted subject matter, prior consultation and the potential requirement to be involved in a current EU legislative processes, we propose that the consultation period be 6 weeks, with responses requested by 30 September 2016.

What comments are requested?

Consultation question: The Scottish Government welcomes your comments on whether electrofishing should in future be a permitted method for catching razor clams?

Distribution of consultation document

This document has been placed on the Scottish Government website:

It has also been sent to the organisations overleaf:
Scottish Parliament Environment, Climate Change & Land Reform Committee
Scottish Parliament Rural Economy & Connectivity Committee
Richard Arkless MP
Liam McArthur MSP
Michael Russell MSP
Finlay Carson MSP

Fisheries Management and Conservation Group
Inshore Fisheries Management and Conservation Group
Regional Inshore Fisheries Groups

Health and Safety Executive
HM Revenue and Customs
Scottish Natural Heritage
South Ayrshire Council
Dumfries and Galloway Council
Seafish Industry Authority
Scottish Environment Link

The consultation document has also been sent to a number of persons with whom Marine Scotland has corresponded in relation to this issue.

Scottish Government
August 2016


Email: Gordon Hart,

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