Crab and lobster, landings of which were worth £26.8 million to the Scottish economy in 2015, are to be given additional protection through new conservation measures announced by the Scottish Government.
The minimum landing sizes for crab and lobster will be increased as follows:
• brown crab from 130-140mm to 150mm (excluding Shetland)
• velvet crab from 65mm to 70mm
• lobster from 87mm to 90mm on the west coast (excluding Solway Firth).
Further, the maximum landing size of female lobster will be decreased to 145mm (excluding Orkney and Shetland), and the landing of berried (egg bearing) velvet crab will be prohibited.
These measures are expected to come into force later in the year.
Fisheries Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “Scottish crab and lobster are an important part of the rural economy, fished by almost 1,400 creel vessels around the coast.
“Landings were worth £26.8 million to the economy in 2015, helping to support many remote communities.
“These new measures are a forward step in achieving the vision set out in our Inshore Fisheries Strategy and will contribute to developing a more sustainable, profitable and well-managed inshore fisheries sector in Scotland.”
Nick Turnbull, Secretary of the Mull Fishermen’s Association, said: “We welcome the introduction of these new management measures.
“Mull fishermen are in agreement in wanting extra protection for our shellfish stocks, and we are confident these measures will help to promote their future health and sustainability.”