HL Deb 22 March 1999 vol 598 cc137-8WA
Baroness Hilton of Eggardon

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Following the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food's consultation exercise on shellfish conservation, what improvements are planned in the protection of United Kingdom shellfish stocks. [HL1532]

Lord Donoughue

The responses to our consultation last summer on improved conservation measures for shellfish proposed by the Fisheries Conservation Group were generally very positive.

In the light of this clear endorsement, the Government have decided that legislation should be laid to increase from 1 January 2000 the minimum landing sizes of lobster, edible crab, and male spider crab landed into the UK from British registered fishing vessels.

From the same day the landing of any lobster or crawfish which has been V-notched would also be prohibited. In Northern Ireland, the current Great Britain landing size of 65mm carapace width for velvet crab will be introduced there at the same time.

The landing size for whelks will be 45mm. This recognises concerns expressed in the consultation exercise that in some parts of the country 45mm was the largest size of whelk found and a larger size was impracticable.

These moves are aimed at conserving shellfish stocks and clearly illustrate our commitment to work with the industry.

Full details are below:

Minimum landing sizes from 1 January 2000 Minimum EU requirement UK size
Lobsters 85mm (87mm from 1/1/2002) 87mm
Edible crabs:
North Sea south of 56°N (except the "Cromer" fishery) to the Essex/Kent border 115mm 130mm
The "Cromer" fishery (the coasts of Lincolnshire, Norfolk and Suffolk) 115mm
Scottish west coast and North Sea north of 56°N (including the whole of the Firth of Forth) 140mm 140mm
North of 55°N on the west coast of Scotland (but including Loch Ryan) 130mm 140mm
South of 56°N on the west coast except ICES areas VHd, e and f 130mm 130mm
Off Devon, Cornwall and the Scilly Isles within ICES Vile and f 140mm males—160mm females—140mm
The Bristol Channel and the remainder of the English Channel 140mm 140mm
Velvet crabs none set 65mm
Spider crabs 120mm males—130mm females—120mm
Whelks 45mm 45mm