From a Scot Gov press release:
Action to combat illegal fishing.
Tougher licensing measures have been brought in to clamp down on the illegal practice of electro-fishing for razor clams.
It follows an increase in complaints received by Marine Scotland over the last 18 months.
Fishermen and other interested parties have been raising concerns about the impact electrofishing may have on razor fish stocks and the wider marine ecosystem around the Scottish coast, something which Marine Scotland Science is currently studying.
It is legal to fish or dive for razor clams, but the practice of electrofishing by passing an electric current into the seabed is against the law.
Some vessel operators have been using the technique, banned by the EU since 1998, to gather significant quantities of razor clams worth several thousands’ at current market prices in a single fishing trip.
Following a consultation with all those involved in the industry, the Scottish Government will introduce new licensing arrangements by creating a specific additional authority, with tougher and more enforceable conditions to minimise the risk of illegal electro-fishing. This initiative will require anyone involved in the razor fishery to make a specific application for an authorisation allowing them to prosecute the fishery through legal and sustainable means.
As part of the application process vessels will be inspected by Marine Scotland Fishery Officers to ensure that equipment capable of electro fishing is not installed and checks will be made by HSE (Health and Safety Executive) to ensure that all necessary diving and safety authorisations are in place prior to a razor fish licence being issued.
For further details see the release.
Category: Scottish Government News