Local fishermen are being reminded of the minimum landing size of shellfish caught in Manx waters after a local man was fined £10,000 for being in possession of undersized lobsters.
The regulations which impose restrictions on the size of retained crabs and lobsters exist to protect the sustainability and conservation of crustacean stocks around the Island. Allowing these animals to stay at sea for longer, before being caught, helps to boost the population; potentially increasing both the number of opportunities to spawn and the number of offspring produced.
Last September, following a public consultation which provided significant supporting evidence, the minimum size for landed crabs rose to 140 mm (carapace width), and to 88 mm (carapace length) for lobsters.
The minimum size of lobsters will increase again to 90mm in September, with this phased approach introduced as a way to mitigate short-term financial implications to fishermen.
Dr Michelle Haywood MHK, Member for the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture said:
‘The Department is committed to the conservation and preservation of fish stocks around the Isle of Man.
‘It is important that all local fishermen follow these rules otherwise they will find themselves in breach of the law and the department will prosecute offenders.’
Landing larger lobsters and crabs will also benefit fishermen as individuals are paid in weight of the animal rather than quantity landed, and the new measures coming in will, in the long term, help boost the spawning stock and improve catch rates for fishermen.
DEFA is committed to protecting the potting fishery which is worth more than £2 million a year to the Manx economy and will rigorously enforce minimum landing sizes.