Scot­land tight­ens re­stric­tions on mark­ing of lob­ster pots

Practical Boat Owner - - News -

New laws to ban the use of milk bot­tles and other in­ap­pro­pri­ate equip­ment to mark creel and lob­ster pots in Scot­land are to be in­tro­duced.

Ma­rine Scot­land has is­sued new guid­ance to fish­er­men, set­ting out best prac­tices for mark­ing static gear within 12 miles of the low wa­ter line around the coast.

By spring 2019, all li­censed fish­er­men will be re­quired to mark buoys with their ves­sel’s iden­ti­fy­ing Port, Let­ter and Num­ber (PLN). Un­li­censed fish­er­men will be given a unique ref­er­ence num­ber by Ma­rine Scot­land to use.

The an­nounce­ment comes af­ter months of dis­cus­sions and con­sul­ta­tion about so-called gear con­flict with fish­er­men’s groups and other ma­rine users.

In its re­sponse to the con­sul­ta­tion, Ma­rine Scot­land said there was clear ev­i­dence that some fish­er­men were us­ing in­ap­pro­pri­ate equip­ment to mark gear and, as a re­sult, it plans to ‘out­law the use of ob­jects such as plas­tic milk car­tons and net­ted foot­balls.’

It added that it ac­cepts that some fish­er­men may wish to mark gear at vari­ance to the guide­lines as a re­sult of lo­cal con­di­tions.

The move has been wel­comed by the Cruis­ing As­so­ci­a­tion (CA), which has long cam­paigned for im­prove­ments to the mark­ing of static fish­ing gear.

The CA’s lob­ster pot cam­paign co­or­di­na­tor, Ian Wil­son, said us­ing proper buoys and floats will play a role in re­duc­ing en­tan­gle­ments and fouled props.

He said the CA was con­sulted on the Scot­tish pro­pos­als, and high­lighted that buoy size was also sig­nif­i­cant for both vis­ual iden­ti­fi­ca­tion at dis­tance and suf­fi­cient buoy­ancy to max­imise de­flec­tion if a pass­ing boat made con­tact.

The CA is cur­rently press­ing for a con­sul­ta­tive body to be set up fol­low­ing its suc­cess­ful pe­ti­tion de­mand­ing im­prove­ments to the mark­ing of static fish­ing gear in the UK.

In its re­sponse to the pe­ti­tion, the Depart­ment for the En­vi­ron­ment, Food and Ru­ral Af­fairs has asked for more ev­i­dence on the scale of fish­ing gear en­tan­gle­ment af­fect­ing the boat­ing com­mu­nity.

En­tan­gle­ment can be re­ported via lob­ster­pots@ as well as to the RYA on­line re­port­ing scheme.

Fish­er­men in Scot­land will have to use ap­pro­pri­ate buoys or floats to iden­tify gear

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