Crab and Lobster Measures: “Must be Considered, not Rushed” Says NFFO’s Shellfish Committee Chairman

31st March 2009 in Shellfish

Following questions raised to the Fisheries Minister at the NFFO’s Annual General Meeting last summer, Defra are again examining options to tighten conservation measures on crab and lobster fisheries.

NFFO’s new Shellfish Committee Chairman Gary Hodgson is determined to push forward with a re-examination of brown crab and lobster conservation measures. He had urged NFFO members to get involved through its Regional and Shellfish Committees and to contribute to defining the Federation’s policy stance.

Beyond incremental increases in MLS for both stocks on a region-by-region basis, and a need in principle to address latent effort, the NFFO has taken an open view at this stage, opting for an evidence based approach that recognises the needs of different regional fleets.

Gary Hodgson said, “It is important that we do not make the same mistakes that occurred in the whitefish sector. Although shellfish stocks are generally good we need to be forward thinking in order to safeguard the industry’s long-term future.” He warned, however that, “Decisions must be supported by an adequate evidence base and not rushed through in a hurry. That requires an in-depth assessment of the options, including the consequences for each region, and this needs to be supported through the broad involvement of all parts of the industry.”

The Federation has been active in the UK Nations and Republic of Ireland Crab Interests forum that first convened last September and meets for its third meeting this Thursday (2nd April) in Dublin. In partnership with the SFF and other representative bodies, the NFFO has backed a proposal to examine the relative merits of alternative crab management measures. Pending backing from Seafish this will commence shortly. NFFO Members who wish to be involved in reviewing this policy should contact the NFFO’s York offices.