‘Egg-cellent’ news for the European lobster as England chooses to ban landings of egg-bearing females

Tuesday 19th September 2017

European lobsterEuropean lobster

Following a nationwide consultation on the prohibition of landing egg bearing (“berried”) lobster and crawfish in England the Government has announced that it will introduce a ban by October of this year.

Earlier this year we submitted a consultation response to the Government in support of this ban and so we are very pleased to hear that it will in fact go ahead.

Bex Lynam, North Sea Marine Advocacy Officer for the North Sea Wildlife Trusts, said: “This is a great fisheries conservation win. It protects the reproductive stock and creates a level playing field for all fishermen fishing in UK waters. This is particularly good news in the English North Sea region where the data on lobster stocks shows their status to be over exploited . It’s essential the stock is sustainably managed in order to preserve the fishery for future fishing generations.”

Shellfish is a crucial commodity for commercial fishermen along the North Sea casotline, with the Holderness area in Yorkshire considered to be the largest fishery for edible crab and lobster in Europe.

Of the 155 responses to the consultation 83% were in favour of a ban, with close to 50% of the responses from the commercial fishing sector.

This new measure should ensure the long-term sustainability of lobster fisheries

One such respondee was Yorkshire fisherman John White. On hearing the news he said: “I’m pleased this has finally been adopted nationally. We’ve been voluntarily v-notching (to identify and protect a known breeder from harvest) and returning berried lobsters for years to help protect our local stocks and this new measure should ensure the long-term sustainability of lobster fisheries.”

The ban will apply to any berried lobster or crawfish caught within English waters by a British or Scottish fishing boat; or landed in England by such, wherever it was caught. Enforcement of the ban will take place either at the point of landing or at sea. Where inspections are carried out at sea within English waters inspectors will decide what action is appropriate if berried lobsters or crawfish are found on-board. The ban will also apply to any lobster or crawfish that can be shown to have been carrying eggs when it was fished. Special kits will be used that can detect whether eggs have been removed after they have been landed.

Full details of the consultation outcome can be viewed online at www.gov.uk/government/consultations/banning-the-landing-of-egg-bearing-lobsters-and-crawfish-in-england