Scilly’s Crayfish Stocks Could Be Boosted

Scilly’s fishermen could soon benefit from bolstered crayfish stocks.

The Council IFCA officer, Steve Watt, has been asked by local commercial fishermen whether dozens of the juvenile shellfish could be placed on the seabed.

The Padstow-based National Lobster Hatchery have had some success by doing this with lobsters in Scilly.

Steve says he’s been told the biology of crayfish is more complex but scientists are preparing to give it a try as part of a Europe-wide experiment.

Fishermen’s’ Association Chairman, Robert Francis, has put aside five berried hens, pregnant crayfish with eggs under their tails, in his store pot. They’ll be collected by the Marine Laboratory on Anglesey next week so they can undergo trials.

If plans to nurture the larvae work, thousand of juveniles could be returned to Scilly.

Now, the scientists want local fishermen to supply more berried hens and they are prepared to pay market rate and expenses.

The experiment is a joint effort between Liverpool University and partners in Spain, Italy, Belgium, Wales and Scotland. Scilly is the only place in England for the trial although there’s potential for confusion as the Sicily Spiny Lobster Association is also involved.

Scilly’s Fishermen’s Association has already backed Tim Richards’ suggestion of a closed season for landing berried hen crayfish to give the best chance of stock recovery.

They have supported a voluntary landing ban between November and April.

Virtually all the locally-caught crayfish go to Newlyn market and then on to France.


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