Fish­er­men’s catch seized as marine of­fi­cers swoop

The Oban Times - - Front Page -

FISH­ER­MEN ac­cused of us­ing ‘dan­ger­ous’ meth­ods to catch shell­fish in illegal wa­ters off the coast of Ar­gyll, may have a le­gal bat­tle on their hands with en­force­ment of­fi­cers.

A ves­sel was in­ter­cepted on Septem­ber 10 by Marine Scot­land of­fi­cers in the Sound of Jura, where col­lect­ing or har­vest­ing shell­fish is illegal.

The in­tel­li­gence-led op­er­a­tion, in part­ner­ship with Ar­gyll and Bute coun­cil, led to the seizure of a sig­nif­i­cant quan­tity of ra­zor clams.

Be­cause the wa­ters are not cur­rently clas­si­fied, the shell­fish seized in the in­ci­dent may be poi­sonous.

Holy­rood Fish­eries sec­re­tary, MSP Richard Lochhead, con­firmed the fish­er­men were sus­pected of us­ing dan­ger­ous ‘elec­tro-fish­ing’ tech­niques, which in­volves stun­ning clams with elec­tric­ity and lift­ing them from the seabed.

Po­lice Scot­land had pre­vi­ously es­ti­mated that clams worth tens of thou­sands of pounds were be­ing il­le­gally fished from Ar­gyll, although this claim was con­tested by the shell­fish in­dus­try.

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