New protection measures.
Scallop stocks around Scotland are to be protected through new conservation measures which are due to come into effect on 1 June.
The changes will increase the minimum landings size of scallops from 100mm to 105mm which will help protect the breeding stock and is expected to lead to an increase in yield and egg production.
Restrictions will also be placed on the number of dredges scallop vessels can tow in inshore waters, while some vessels will now use digital cameras and sensor monitoring equipment to record the location, speed and winch activity – a first for the scallop fleet.
Fisheries Secretary Fergus Ewing said:
“The scallop sector is very important to many of our local communities and these management measures coming into force will help secure the long-term sustainability of the stock.
“Scottish vessels landed £33 million of king scallops in 2015 and helped to sustain jobs in some of our most rural communities, both directly on fishing vessels and related industries like processing.
“We are committed to protecting this important sector and have taken time to develop an approach that takes into account the variations in size in the fleet. Those vessels that host electronic monitoring equipment will give us accurate and up-to-date information that can help us improve future management.”
Subject to Parliamentary approval the “Regulation of Scallop Fishing (Scotland) Order 2017” will bring new controls for the Scottish king scallop fishery into force from 1 June 2017.
The new restrictions limit vessels to eight dredges per side. There will be no change to the current restrictions outside 12 nautical miles.
Alternatively vessels can tow ten dredges per side in the six to 12 nautical mile zone, provided they install electronic monitoring on-board. This equipment records the location, speed and winch activity every ten seconds. Vessels would still be limited to eight dredges per side within six nautical miles of the coast.