Electro fishing is illegal

complianceRecently we were contacted regarding electro-fishing for razor fish in Luce Bay – after contacting Marine Scotland Compliance we received the following response:

“Thank you for your e-mail of 16 July about the suspected electro-fishing for razor clams in Luce Bay and off the Ayrshire coast.

Reports of the harvesting of razor fish using electricity are very much of interest to Marine Scotland. As you are aware this form of fishing is currently illegal and Marine Scotland has recently deployed Marine Protection Vessels (MPVs), working closely with the local Fishery Offices, to specifically target potential electro-fishing vessels in Scottish waters in order to stop this unauthorised activity. Other avenues may also offer realistic opportunities to achieve this objective and these are actively being explored, with our Fishery Officers working jointly with relevant criminal justice partners.

Whilst the gathering of sufficient evidence remains challenging, I can advise that eleven vessels have been issued with Fixed Penalty Notices (£1,000.00) since May 2010. I am glad to be able to report that new provisions being introduced through the Aquaculture and Fisheries (Scotland) Act will further strengthen Marine Scotland’s hand in addressing how the illegal equipment used in electro-fishing is seized and dealt with.

Considering wider issues around the use of electricity, there remain clear concerns and indeed unknown elements linked to its impact on the wider environment. It is important that we have a clearer understanding of the effects of such activity on the marine environment and with this in mind; Marine Scotland will look carefully at the findings of a future project to help establish the wider impact of electro-fishing activity. In the meantime, on current evidence I wish to make it clear that Marine Scotland does not support the practice of electro-fishing or any relaxation of the rules governing it. I can also confirm that there are currently no authorised trials underway in Luce Bay or in waters off the Ayrshire coast.

Marine Scotland is alive to the immediate concerns of stakeholder organisations such as SSACN about the reported illegal activity and the potential harm this may be causing to stocks and the wider marine environment. Mindful of this I want to reassure you that Marine Compliance colleagues will continue to focus attention on electro-fishing using both land and sea based assets.

I hope that you will find this information and re-assurance helpful.”

Category: Scottish Government News

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