Information

Consultation on new Management Measures on Crab and Lobster Landings into Orkney

A consultation on management proposals for lobster, velvet crab and green crab landed into Orkney. The management measures were developed by Orkney Sustainable Fisheries Ltd, which is part of the Inshore Fisheries Group network.


Annex B: Partial Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment

Title of Proposal

Consultation on new Management Measures for Crab and Lobster Landings into Orkney

Purpose and intended effect

Background

The Inshore Fisheries Strategy was launched by the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and the Environment in 2012. One of its key objectives was to improve the management of Scotland's inshore fisheries (from 0 to 6 nautical miles) and continued support for Inshore Fisheries Groups ( IFGs).

Six IFGs are in existence in Scotland, covering the entire mainland coast, Orkney and the Outer Hebrides. Their aim is to put commercial fishermen, assisted by government agencies and others with an interest in the marine environment, at the heart of developing initiatives for sustainable and profitable fisheries.

Part of the IFG Remit is the "development and implementation of measures designed to better conserve and sustainably exploit stocks of shellfish and sea fish". The IFGs have taken forward a number of projects in the last three years into the sustainability of their local fisheries and are now approaching Marine Scotland to implement legislative measures to protect these stocks.

Orkney already has well-developed management of its fisheries, and Orkney Sustainable Fisheries Ltd ( OSF) has been recognised by Marine Scotland as the IFG equivalent for the area. OSF was established as a Company Limited by Guarantee in 2006 with the aim of running the Orkney Lobster Hatchery and taking forward various other initiatives relating to the sustainability of the local shellfisheries. OSF has representatives from all local fisheries sectors as members and directors, with directors being recruited through an open and widely-advertised process.

As part of fulfilling its remit, OSF has developed new management measures for Orkney's inshore shellfish fisheries. After reaching consensus among its membership and the wider Orkney inshore fishing community, OSF has asked Marine Scotland to legislate on these proposals.

Objective

The purpose of the consultation is to seek views on management measures that will afford additional protection for Orkney's commercial shellfish stocks, above those already in effect.

A minimum landing size ( MLS) is designed to prevent the landing of juvenile individuals of a species, allowing a proportion of them to grow and reproduce before they can be legally caught. The majority of Scotland's commercial fish stocks have a MLS set at an EU level by Council Regulation ( EC) No 850/98.

Member States are able to go beyond these measures, or introduce new measures for local stocks not covered by existing EU regulations, for conservation and management purposes. In the UK, the MLS for lobster and velvet crab are set by the Undersized Lobsters Order 2000 and Undersized Velvet Crabs Order 1989 respectively.

Marine Scotland Science performs regular assessments of Scotland's fish stocks. The results of the most recent assessments of Orkney's velvet crab and lobster stocks have shown that both are currently fished at levels close to or above the F MSY proxy. F MSY is the fishing mortality consistent with the largest average yield that can continuously be taken from a stock under prevailing environmental conditions.

The current management advice from Marine Scotland Science is that a higher yield and biomass in the long term could potentially be obtained by reducing the level of fishing mortality (effort) on stocks that are fished above F MSY.

Rationale for Government intervention

Orkney's fishing industry depends on shellfish. In 2013, over 99 per cent of the area's landings were shellfish, valued at almost £7.3 million. The species in the consultation - lobster, velvet crab and green crab - account for over a third of this value at £2.5 million.

By introducing management measures that will help to reduce the fishing mortality and increase the long-term average yield from the fishery, the Scottish Government will be supporting local management initiatives which are conservative and can contribute positively to the management of the stocks and the economic returns from the fishery.

This contributes to the Scottish Government's National Performance Framework objective of valuing and enjoying our built and natural environment and protecting it and enhancing it for future generations.

Consultation

Within Government

Discussions have taken place with Marine Scotland Compliance, Marine Scotland Science and the Scottish Government Legal Directorate, as part of the development of the consultation's management proposals.

Public Consultation

This Partial BRIA will accompany the consultation, which will be issued on 20 February 2015. The consultation documents will be sent electronically and/or by post to all interested parties registered with the Scottish Government. An electronic copy will also be placed on the Scottish Government website. No informal consultation has taken place.

Business

Marine Scotland will meet with a cross-section of the Orkney fishing industry during the consultation period. Around 6 to 12 individuals or companies will be invited to attend interviews in order for Marine Scotland to establish what these proposed changes will mean to their business.

Options

Option 1 - Do Nothing

Maintain the current management arrangements for Orkney's shellfish stocks.

Option 2 - Introduce new management measures

  • Increase the minimum landing size ( MLS) for velvet crab from 65 mm to 70 mm carapace width
  • Increase the MLS for lobster from 87 mm to 90 mm carapace length over a three year period
  • Introduce a MLS for green crab of 70 mm carapace width
  • Prohibit the landing of berried velvet crab caught in the six nautical miles around Orkney
  • Consider whether there should be new restrictions on carriage in the six nautical miles around Orkney to accompany these measures

Sectors and groups affected

Licensed fishermen, fish merchants and fish processors in Orkney will be those most directly affected by the introduction of new management arrangements. Marine Scotland Compliance, who will be responsible for the enforcement of these arrangements, will also be directly affected.

Costs and Benefits

Option 1 - Do Nothing

Benefits

Orkney fishermen can continue to land lobster, velvet crab and green crab that comply with existing fisheries legislation.

Costs

Stock assessments by Marine Scotland Science show that both the velvet crab and male lobster stocks around Orkney are fished above the F MSY proxy. If these stocks continue to be fished at this level, the yield and the economic returns from the fishery will be less than could be achieved.

Option 2 - Introduce new management measures

Velvet crab

Benefits

Stock assessments carried out by Marine Scotland Science show that both male and female velvet crab are fished above F MSY in Orkney. Increasing the MLS from 65 mm to 70 mm carapace width will allow those newly-undersized individuals - 30% of current annual landings, according to sampling done by Marine Scotland Science - the opportunity to grow and reproduce before being caught, potentially increasing the stock's long term yield and biomass.

As velvet crab of 65-69 mm carapace width can grow on average by 13-16 mm and by 24% in weight per year, those newly-undersized individuals that could no longer be landed in year one would grow large enough to be landed in the subsequent year.

If the 30% of annual landings that are currently under 70 mm were allowed a year to grow by 24% before being caught, this would increase the tonnage of the following year's landings by an estimated 7.2%. As velvet crab over 70 mm can be worth up to £0.50/kg more than the average market price, this would mean additional annual value of over £300,000, based on 2013 prices.

Prohibiting the landing of berried velvet crabs will also provide additional protection to mature individuals and could increase the reproductive potential of the stock.

Costs

Increasing the MLS from 65 mm to 70 mm carapace width would mean a 30% decrease in tonnage landed in the first year after being introduced. As velvet crab under 70 mm are worth up to £0.50/kg less than the average market price, this would mean a one-off reduction in the value of landings of £329,000, based on 2013 prices.

Lobster

Benefits

Stock assessments carried out by Marine Scotland Science show that male lobster is fished above F MSY and female lobster is fished at F MSY in Orkney. Increasing the MLS from 87 mm to 90 mm carapace length will allow those newly-undersized individuals - 19% of current annual landings, according to sampling done by Marine Scotland Science - the opportunity to grow and reproduce before being caught, potentially increasing the stock's long term yield and biomass.

As lobster of 87-89 mm carapace length can grow on average by 7.7-9.0 mm and by 11.25% in weight per year, those newly-undersized individuals that could no longer be landed in year one would grow large enough to be landed in the subsequent year.

If the 19% of the annual landings that are currently under 90 mm were allowed a year to grow by 11.25% before being landed, this would increase the tonnage of the following year's landings by an estimated 2.1%. This would mean additional annual value of nearly £24,000, based on 2013 prices.

Costs

Increasing the MLS from 87 mm to 90 mm carapace length within one year would mean an immediate 19% decrease in tonnage landed, which would result in a one-off reduction in the value of landings of £210,000, based on 2013 prices.

However, a staggered introduction (1 mm increase per year) would minimise the reduced tonnage/value to 16.9% / £187,000, and would spread this reduction over a three year period.

This is because lobster that could not be landed in each year of a staggered introduction would grow in size and weight to meet the new MLS and be landed in the subsequent year.

Green crab

Benefits

There is currently no MLS for green crab. Landings in Orkney are not routinely sampled and green crab achieves the same market price irrespective of size. OSF estimates that 30% of green crab landed is under 70 mm. Introducing a MLS for green crab would afford new protection to the spawning stock, along with an increase in weight, and could help to ensure a consistent market price in subsequent years.

Costs

An estimated decrease in green crab landings of 30% in the first year following the introduction of a 70 mm MLS would result in a one-off reduction in the value of landings of £26,000, based on 2013 prices.

Scottish Firms Impact Test

This section will be completed after conducting interviews with industry, providing a full analysis of the questions asked, responses received and how this engagement will feed into the development of the proposals.

Competition Assessment

We do not anticipate any impact on competition. However, this section will be updated after conducting interviews with industry.

Test run of business forms

No new business forms will be introduced.

Legal Aid Impact Test

The proposed new management measures have been discussed with the Scottish Government Access to Justice Team, who have agreed that they should have no impact on the legal aid fund.

Enforcement, sanctions and monitoring

Marine Scotland Compliance is responsible for the monitoring and enforcement of marine and fishing laws. Fishery Officers have the power to perform inspections of fishing vessels at sea or in ports, fish markets and processing factories, in order to ensure compliance with legislation. Where a breach of fisheries regulations has been detected, it will be reported as appropriate to the prosecuting authorities. This can result in a fine of up to £50,000.

Implementation and delivery plan

The proposals will go out to consultation on 20 February 2015, running for 12 weeks and closing to responses on 15 May 2015. The proposed management measures would be introduced through new secondary legislation, using the powers conferred by the Sea Fish (Conservation) Act 1967. The legislation would come into force later in 2015.

Post-implementation review

Marine Scotland will monitor the impact of new management arrangements on the Orkney fishing industry, and consider any practical or unforeseen consequences should they arise. Any areas of concern are likely to become quickly apparent through representations made by local fishing interests (either individually or through OSF), the Inshore Fisheries Management and Conservation ( IFMAC) group, or Marine Scotland Compliance.

Summary and recommendation

Marine Scotland recommends Option 2. Introducing new management measures for Orkney's lobster, velvet crab and green crab stocks will help to reduce the fishing mortality and potentially increase the long term average yield and recruitment to the fishery. These are conservative measures that can contribute positively to management of the stocks and economic returns from the fishery.

Summary costs and benefits table

Option 1 - Do Nothing

Total benefit per annum:

  • economic, environmental, social

Total cost per annum:

  • economic, environmental, social
  • policy and administrative

Maintaining the current management arrangements for lobster, velvet crab and green crab would allow fishing to continue as before.

No additional policy or administrative costs are associated with maintaining the status quo. Continued fishing at a rate above F MSY implies less than maximal yield and income from the fishery in the long term, and associated environmental and social costs.

Option 2 - Introduce new management measures

Total benefit per annum:

  • economic, environmental, social

Total cost per annum:

  • economic, environmental, social
  • policy and administrative

Increasing MLS for lobster & velvet crab and introducing a MLS for green crab will afford those newly-undersized individuals further opportunity to grow and reproduce before being harvested, potentially reducing fishing mortality and increasing long term yield from the stocks.

The growth rates (size and weight) for lobster and velvet crab mean the proposed MLS increases could add an additional total tonnage of 2.1% and 7.2% to their respective fisheries in the longer term.

Prohibiting the landing of berried velvet crabs will provide additional protection to mature individuals and increase the reproductive potential of the stock.

Introducing new management measures for lobster, velvet crab and green crab would lead to a one-off decrease in the tonnage of each species that could be landed, estimated as follows:

  • 16.9% for lobster over a three year period
  • 30% for velvet crab over a one year period
  • 30% for green crab over a one year period

Declaration and publication

I have read the Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment and I am satisfied that, given the available evidence, it represents a reasonable view of the likely costs, benefits and impact of the leading options. I am satisfied that business impact has been assessed with the support of businesses in Scotland.

Signed: Richard Lochhead

Date: 18th February 2015

Richard Lochhead
Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and the Environment

Scottish Government Contact point:

Ross Cumming

Marine Scotland
Area 1B South
Victoria Quay
Edinburgh
EH6 6QQ

0131 244 6214

ross.cumming@scotland.gsi.gov.uk

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