Publication - Consultation analysis

Consultation on new controls in the Nephrops and Crabs and Lobster Fisheries - Outcome Report

Published: 3 Oct 2013
Part of:
Marine and fisheries
ISBN:
9781782569572

Outcome report on a consultation seeking views on new controls in the Scottish creel fisheries and on increasing the minimum landing size for West of Scotland Nephrops.

27 page PDF

457.1 kB

27 page PDF

457.1 kB

Contents
Consultation on new controls in the Nephrops and Crabs and Lobster Fisheries - Outcome Report
Executive Summary

27 page PDF

457.1 kB

Executive Summary

1. This document analyses responses to Marine Scotland's Consultation on new controls in the Nephrops and Crab and Lobster Fisheries. A copy of the consultation can be found at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2012/08/7352/0. The consultation sought views on:

  1. Introducing new management measures in the Nephrops creel fishery
  2. Introducing new management measures in the crab and lobster fisheries
  3. Increasing the minimum landing size of West Coast Nephrops

2. More precisely, feedback was requested on the following questions:

Nephrops Creel Management

  • Whether creel limits should be introduced and why
  • How creel limits should be allocated
  • The number of creels each vessel should be allocated
  • Whether restrictions should be introduced on the type of creel that can be used

Crab and Lobster Fisheries

  • Whether creel limits should be introduced and why
  • How creel limits should be allocated
  • The number of creels each vessel should be allocated
  • Whether restrictions should be introduced on the type of creel that can be used
  • Whether quotas should apply to these fisheries

Increasing Minimum Landing Size of West Coast Nephrops

  • Whether the minimum landing size of West Coast Nephrops should be brought into line with North Sea regulations

3. We issued the Consultation on new controls in the Nephrops and Crab and Lobster Fisheries on 7 August 2012. The consultation closed on 30 October 2012.

4. There were 110 responses, with the majority coming from private individuals, which made up 69 per cent (77) of the total. Twenty per cent (22) were from fishermen's associations. Five per cent (5) were from environmental organisations. Four per cent (4) were from processors and the remaining two per cent (2) were from local authorities.

5. Where permission was given, consultation responses have been placed in the Scottish Government Library. To make arrangements to view responses contact the Scottish Government Library on 0131 244 4560, or at: Area GD Bridge, Victoria Quay, Edinburgh, EH6 6QQ). Responses can be copied and issued but a charge may be made for this service.

Correction

6. On Friday 5 th October 2013, an errata to the original consultation document was issued correcting references, on pages six and nine, relating to the sustainability of crab and lobster fisheries in Scottish waters. We would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Summary of responses

7. Respondents were mixed in their support for the proposed changes, but clear themes emerged:

  • A majority against the introduction of national creel limits in the Nephrops and crab and lobster fisheries
  • A majority against new controls on the type of creels that can be used in the Nephrops and crab and lobster fisheries
  • A majority against the introduction of quotas in the crab and lobster fisheries
  • A majority against increasing the minimum landing size of West Coast Nephrops

8. Though many who responded were opposed to any form of creel limits, some who opposed stated that their position may change if creel limits were to form part of a package of management measures including spatial management.

9. There was also regional variation in the level of support for creel limits. There was greater support from some West Coast associations than, for example, from East Coast associations.

Outcome

10. In light of the consultation responses, we have considered a range of issues including: potential environmental benefits; gear conflict aspects and enforcement and compliance challenges. Our conclusion is that, given the lack of evidence to support the view that limiting creel numbers on its own would help improve stock status, reduce gear conflict and in view of the major challenges attached to effective enforcement of any such scheme (particularly given the lack of support from most stakeholders) we do not propose, at this time, to introduce any new measures in accordance with questions 1 - 16.

11. However, although the majority of respondents were against national creel limits as proposed in the consultation, we note there were some regions which supported such measures. We would therefore be supportive of any region or area that wished to investigate the introduction of a local scheme through their IFG (Inshore Fisheries Group). These could potentially be run as research pilots to test out the feasibility and effectiveness of such schemes.

12. In addition to responses on the sixteen questions posed, we received other comments and general opinions on how the creel fisheries operate and are regulated. We have undertaken an analysis of these and identified two key, recurring issues which require further policy consideration:

Unlicensed Fishermen

13. Significant concerns were expressed about the operation of unlicensed fishermen. Respondents stated that if Marine Scotland is considering additional regulatory measures for licensed vessels, it needs to ensure that there is a level playing field between the licensed and unlicensed sectors (although unlicensed fishermen must not sell their catch, there is no restriction on the number of creels unlicensed fishermen can operate).

14. In response to these concerns, Marine Scotland Compliance continues to receive and collate intelligence relating to alleged unlicensed fishermen. This is built into their risk assessments and associated tasking, alongside work on other alleged offences. If their on-going work suggests to Marine Scotland that unlicensed fishermen are a significant problem around the Scottish coast, we will consider whether to take forward further measures. There has also been a drive to improve the general understanding of who can legally buy and sell seafish through a poster campaign conducted through Fishery Offices.

Berried Lobsters

15. There was also a strong body of opinion in favour of action against the landing of berried lobster hens, including suggestions for consideration of an outright ban. The landing of berried lobsters was previously banned in the UK but this was repealed due to the significant control and monitoring issues it created. The v-notching scheme, where berried lobsters are marked and then returned to the water, is one way in which fishermen can ensure that egg-carrying females are returned to the sea.

16. Marine Scotland wants to support fishermen with v-notching schemes, where they are thought necessary, and we will encourage this through IFGs. IFGs should consider whether a v-notching programme is appropriate for their area, or if there is a danger that such schemes could result in a gender imbalance in their lobster populations. If requested by IFGs, Marine Scotland will make funding available for the purchase of v-notching clippers.


Contact