Improving the sustainability of the Outer Hebrides’ shellfish fisheries is the aim of a new consultation launched today. The Outer Hebrides Inshore Fisheries Group (IFG) has approached Marine Scotland to legislate on management proposals it has developed to help improve the sustainability of these fisheries through the regulation of harvesting controls.
Landings of brown crab, velvet crab and lobster were worth £2.7 million to the economy of the Outer Hebrides in 2012 – and more when processing and other related activities are included.
The IFG’s proposals include:
• increasing the minimum landing sizes of brown crab, velvet crab and lobster
• prohibiting the landing of larger female lobsters in the area
IFGs are non-statutory bodies whose purpose is to help improve the management of Scotland’s inshore fisheries out to 6 nautical miles. One of their key aims 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.
Scottish Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead said:
“I have always said that Scottish fishermen lead the way in Europe with their commitment to sustainable practices and the proposals in this consultation are a good example of that. Fishing is very important to the local economy with crab and lobster landings worth £2.7 million in 2012 and much more to the wider economy.
“I am delighted to see local fishing interests come together and develop management proposals to help ensure the long-term sustainability of their fisheries.”